Al Showers Reports On Elevations In The Bay

By Al Showers - bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - No one is arguing the fact that Hancock County's low lying areas saw a lot of flood waters during Gustav and Ike.  In fact, the back to back storms blew in as much as 13 feet of water.

Bay St. Louis Mayor Eddie Favre said, "I think FEMA's position is going to be just that their going to look at these two examples, see we told you. We told you so. Their going to look at them and say, this is a prime example of why we need all of these higher elevations."

But Mayor Eddie Favre says the four foot free board adopted by his city following hurricane Katrina faired well. A 4 foot free board basically required new homes going up after Katrina be built 4 feet higher.

"The new houses built to the current existing standards, I don't think we had very many if any flooded.," favre said.

Reporter Al Showers' house in Bay St. Louis received 6 feet of flood water underneath it during hurricane Gustav. The house is elevated 15-feet off the ground, so fortunately, it didn't take in any water inside.

Showers old house before Katrina sat on the ground, and six feet of water inside would have meant a total loss.

Favre said, "That has proven to be sufficient."

Mayor Favre says under FEMA's new proposed flood maps, 80 percent of his city is classified in an A or V zones. That means in some cases homes and businesses would have to be elevated any where from 23 to 27 feet off the ground.

"We theoretically could have shopping centers having to be built on piling on Highway 90 just once again it wasn't reasonable," Favre said.

The mayor said that they also have to keep the cost to build and insuring a home or business in those zones in mind..

Favre said, "It's almost like an incentive for people not to build. It pushes people out, and that's not what we're trying to do. We're trying to get our folks back home."

Mayor Favre admits in light of the recent floods it will likely be tougher to convince FEMA to lower its new elevations levels, but he says the fight must continue for the future of the Bay.