CHALMETTE, La. — The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, along with St. Bernard Parish government, will distribute free sandbags to parish residents from 3:30 to 7 p.m. today (June 20) at the sandbag barn in the old Kaiser facility at the rear of the Port of St. Bernard in Chalmette, and from 4 to 7 p.m. near the Delacroix/Hopedale Junction on La. Highway 46, the Judge Perez Drive extension.
“We have 40,000 sandbags that have been pre-made and are ready to be given to residents of St. Bernard,” Sheriff James Pohlmann said. Parish prisoners make the sandbags throughout the year in preparation for the next hurricane season.
St. Bernard residents must show proof of residency in order to receive sandbags, and there will be a limit of 15 per vehicle, Pohlmann said.
Motorists wishing to pick up the sandbags at the Port can enter the road to the port off West St. Bernard Highway at Keane Drive, next to the old Kaiser smokestack, and follow the road to the rear of the port, near the Mississippi River levee. Deputies will be there to assist, the Sheriff said.
The Sheriff’s Office is monitoring weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Cindy and are in constant contact with local parish government leaders, officials from surrounding parishes and the National Weather Service.
“We’re reviewing our plans and are ready for this rain event,” Pohlmann said. “We also are prepared to bring in extra manpower to help with traffic control and road closures if need be.”
Pohlmann reminds residents to use caution when driving down residential streets with standing water. Residents who drive down flooded streets, endangering the property of others, can be fined up to $500.
Parish government officials are continuing to monitor the storm, and also are in constant communications with the National Weather Service and surrounding key agencies, according to Parish President Guy McInnis.
St. Bernard is operating at full drainage and pumping capacity. Drainage canals have been pumped down to add additional storage capacity, McInnis said. Public works crews are in the field making any necessary preparations and pre-staging additional pumps for trouble areas.
Residents should secure any loose items around their homes, and they should survey their neighborhoods and pick up any loose and vegetative debris that may cause obstructions to the drainage catch basins.
McInnis said residents may contact the parish St. Bernard Emergency Operations Center with any specific concerns regarding a construction or road site at (504) 278-4268.
Residents who would like to report any problems or suspicious activity in their neighborhood can contact the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501.
“We are urging all residents and businesses to get prepared and stay informed,” Pohlmann said.