How one town is moving to avoid flooding

About 40 homeowners in a flood-prone Louisiana community are tapping federal funds to relocate to higher ground
May 04, 2019 12:00PM

(Credit: iStock)

Plans to move a tiny, flood-prone community in Louisiana to higher ground may serve as a model for people forced to leave their homes due to worsening weather conditions.

About 40 homeowners who live in Pecan Acres, a flood-prone subdivision in New Roads, Louisiana, plan to move their community in its entirety about two miles away to a site where the elevation is 10 feet higher, CNBC reported. It will be one of the first federally-funded relocation of an entire community due to weather and makes the residents among America’s first “climate refugees,” according to the report.

The low-lying subdivision was built next to a canal in the 1970s, but now the area’s levee can no longer properly hold back increasing rainfall, which is causing frequent, intense flooding in the community. Floods in 2016 and 2017 in particular galvanized state planning to relocate Pecan Acres and convert the land to wetlands at a total cost of $12 million.

To pay for the relocation, the homeowners will take out forgiveable loans up to $200,000 where, for each year they reside in the new home, a fifth of the loan will be forgiven, so they can become debt-free homeowners in five years.

“I’m ready to go,” said Curnell Jackson, one of many owners of flood-damaged homes in Pecan Acres. The new homes are supposed to be ready for residents to move into by fall 2020. [CNBC] – Mike Seemuth