Bossier sheriff: Red Chute at Dogwood barely held back by sandbags

Published: Mar. 12, 2016 at 2:18 PM CST|Updated: May. 7, 2016 at 1:18 PM CDT
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Another look at how close the Red Chute Bayou is to overtopping the Guideline Levee at Dogwood....
Another look at how close the Red Chute Bayou is to overtopping the Guideline Levee at Dogwood. (Source: Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office)
Crews worked all day to sandbag the Guideline Levy along Red Chute Bayou in Bossier City in...
Crews worked all day to sandbag the Guideline Levy along Red Chute Bayou in Bossier City in hopes of keeping it from spilling over. (Source: Scott Pace/KSLA News 12)

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington offered an update Saturday morning on the situation along Red Chute, saying the only thing holding the bayou back are the sandbags.

"If it were not for sandbags, it would be topping the levee, folks. That's just how close and how this is," Whittington said. "We're not relaxing anything. The evacuation order is still in effect. Once it crests, we'll have a better idea of where we are, how long it's going to be on the levee, but for right now, things are just like they've always been for the last 5 days."

The Red Chute at Dogwood continues to rise, although the rate at which the water is rising has slowed.

Whittington also said South Bossier is getting some backup water.

"I talked to some residents there, been there 70 years, said that highest they've ever seen it along Highway 71. I can't explain why that's so, but it is so."

The Guideline Levee was expected to overtop on Friday, but rose more slowly than originally estimated. As of Friday afternoon, Sheriff Julian Whittington said the bayou was expected to spill over the levee sometime Saturday night. That estimate did not appear to have changed based on his comments late Saturday morning.

The sheriff also again address rumors circulating of a levee failure or disastrous release of water in recent days.

"There have been no failures, we don't anticipate any failures."

Additional self-service sandbag distribution locations have been set up at the Koran Library on LA 527 and Elm Grove Elementary School on Old Hwy 71.

Those locations are in addition to the Police Jury's highway department maintenance complex, 410 Mayfield St. in Benton and the parish public service complex at 3223 Old Shed Road in Bossier City.

Rescue efforts continue with airboats and high water trucks, while residents in several neighborhoods along the swollen waterway from North Bossier at Dogwood to South Bossier through Golden Meadows, Southgate and in the Caplis-Sligo Rd. area prepare for the worst.

Nine neighborhoods in all remain under a mandatory evacuation order, but some have stayed. Emergency officials are concerned that if the levee is overtopped, people could become trapped in their homes by high water, but some residents say they don't want to leave their property for a variety of reasons.

See the Red Chute Bayou and Guideline Levee from the air here.

According to Whittington, Bossier Schools Superintendent DC Machen is expected to announce in Sunday's briefing what schools will be open on Monday.

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