Ouachita Parish makes progress on Laura damage clean up


OUACHITA PARISH, LA (KTVE/KARD) Even though Laura moved through Ouachita parish nearly a month ago large piles of debris like this one can still be found all across the parish. But the Ouachita Parish Police Jury and twin cities are making progress in cleaning up the damage.

“In terms of overall debris that’s been removed I’d say probably in the neighborhood of about 40 percent of the debris has been picked up. That’s a very rough estimate. Somewhere near 121,000 cubic yards” says Shane Smiley, President of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury.

Due to the magnitude of the damage, public works and private contractors have been working non-stop since Laura hit. Officials are working to clean up as much organic debris as possible first, with structural damage to follow.

In West Monroe, progress has been steady.

“We picked up about 20,000 cubic yards of debris. We have about 75% of the debris picked up” says Ronnie Turner, Director of West Monroe Public Works.

Across the river, Monroe is also making steady progress.

“There are a total of 83,654 cubic yards that have been picked up. We’re probably about 75% done” says Mayor Friday Ellis, Mayor of Monroe.

As clean up continues, officials are asking residents with help on one thing as heavy rain from Beta moves through our area:

“Keep you drainage ditches clean” Smiley said.

“Keeping your drains, your ditches clean” Mayor Staci Mitchell, Mayor of West Monroe said.

“Being able to clean our ditches and gutters out” Ellis said.

They have been working to clear as many as possible, with pump stations ready as well. They are also asking residents to separate organic versus non organic damage, as organic debris is mulched. Additional funding for storm clean up is coming to the parish.

“Ouachita Parish has qualified to be, for category a relief which means through FEMA, we’ll get a 75% reimbursement for all the debris removal costs and any other expenses” Mitchell said.

Officials say that if they continue on their current track, they should have most, if not all of the damage cleaned up over the next few weeks.

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