Parish prepares for Gustav

Wade McIntyre

"We have begun prepping supplies and sandbags for flood control putting bags at fire stations and pre-designated locations," he said. "We've also coordinated planning with our utility companies, the school board, National Guard and police."

One of the triggers for OEP to begin stepping up its efforts in preparation of Gustav will be when the storm reaches longitude 80W, Webre said.

Hurricane tracking maps on late Thursday afternoon projected Gustav reaching that point late Friday morning.

There was a 9 a.m. Ascension Parish press conference Martinez and the Ascension Parish Council called Friday jointly held in the parish courthouse on S. Irma Boulevard in Gonzales.

Webre provided an update on the status and actions of the OEP and what preparation step residents should take. The briefing ran on Cox and EATEL Cable Channels 21.

Parish officials anticipated that Ascension Parish would begin being impacted as soon as a contra-flow evacuation plan for south Louisiana is placed in effect. Early last week area hotels started filling up through early September in anticipation of a potential mandatory evacuation.

At the Days Inn in Gonzales, the hotel turned on its "No Vacancy" sign last Tuesday, and is booked through Sept. 4, according to Nick Patel, front desk clerk.

Brittny Guidry, a front desk clerk at the Gonzales Best

Western said that hotel is booked through Sept. 17.

The Gonzales Holiday Inn sold out Tuesday morning and is now booked through Sept. 6, a front desk clerk said

Thursday.

State Fire Marshall Butch Browning, who was fire chief of Gonzales during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, was in St.

Bernard Parish Thursday morning helping organize the governor's advance directive for preparation of Gustav.

"The governor has given us a very aggressive order to see that we are prepared," Browning said. "It looks at this time like the coastal area will be affected and we are just putting the plan in motion."

Part of the plan is to help local coastal fire departments prepare themselves so they can be ready to assist immediately those in need when and if they are called upon in a Gustav related disaster, Browning said. About 50 officers from the fire marshal's office are also being sent out to coastal areas to help coordinate fire fighting resources with OEP disaster operations.

Ascension Parish Public Information Officer, Amy

Johnson, encouraged residents to keep up with Gustav information and updates at the parish website www.ascensionparish.net.

Entergy Customer Service Manager, David Herring said,

Entergy crews and contractors are preparing for staging near the predicted landfall area and will go to work repairing electrical damage as soon as the storm safely passes.

"We're telling them to bring a least a week's worth of clothes with them," he said. Herring asked that customers remember to stay away from downed power lines and call 1-800-9outage toll free to report damage.

In Ascension Parish, flooding is always a concern in stormy weather, and sandbags are now available for residents to pick up.

Sandbags were available Thursday at the following locations on the east bank:

• Ascension Civic Center,

9608 Airline Hwy., Sorrento.

• Fire District 1, 13192

Airline Hwy., Gonzales.

• 5thWard Fire Department,

39110 Hwy. 22, Darrow.

• Galvez/Lake Fire

Department, 16288 Joe

Sevario Road, Galvez.

• Galvez/Lake Fire

Department, 16573 Hwy. 931,

Galvez.

• Lake Martin, Corner of

Hwy. 431 and Lake Martin

Road.

• Prairieville Fire

Department, 372237

Goodwood St., Prairieville.

• St. Amant Fire

Department, 44465 Stringer

Bridge Road, St. Amant.

Westbank locations include:

• Abend Community Park

and Playground, 3110 Bethel

Ln., Donaldsonville.

• Bunn Hood Subdivision,

Located off Hwy. 1 South,

Donaldsonville.

• Donaldsonville

Department of public works

Office, 725 Church St.,

Donaldsonville.

• Lemann Center, Corner of

Thibaut Drive and Clay Street,

Donaldsonville.

• Lemanville Community

Park, 3131 Hwy 18 East,

Donaldsonville.

• Ascension Parish Health

Unit, 901 Catalpa St.,

Donaldsonville.

• Modeste Community

Park, 35444 Butler Rd.,

Modeste.

• PaloAlto Fire Station 120,

1428 Hwy. 1 South,

Donaldsonville.