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Graves: I want to tell you a good story from Hurricane Ida

September 10, 2021
Press Release
How Cajun ingenuity saved lots of lives and a community

GOLDEN MEADOW, LA – Windell Curole, Executive Director of the South Lafourche Levee District, and the South Lafourche Levee District Board knew their levees needed to be higher and refused to take no for an answer.

Curole and the levee district worked with the citizens of Lafourche Parish and the state of Louisiana to help invest in better hurricane protection projects for our community. Despite the headwinds of cease and desist letters, legal threats, and government red tape, they succeeded. They knew that if they could get the Larose to Golden Meadow system elevated, lives, homes, businesses, and communities could be spared from future storms.

The levees held, and their effort saved a lot of lives and prevented severe destruction. Lafourche Parish did suffer damage related to Hurricane Ida, and we will continue working with the parish and stakeholders to help rebuild and fulfill unmet needs.

This just goes to show that with a little bit of Cajun ingenuity and whole lot of perseverance, we can advance Louisiana together.



Hey it’s Garret Graves.

 We’re about 10 days past Hurricane Ida. I am standing in Golden Meadow, Louisiana.

 You’ve heard a lot of awful stories about the devastation caused by that incredible storm.

 You’re well aware of the electricity that has been out all over the state. You’re well aware of the cell phones being down, internet being cut, water systems down, wastewater being out of service, and many, many other really difficult challenges.

 I want to tell you a good story.

 This levee behind me is known as the Larose to Golden Meadow system. It’s run by the South Lafourche Levee District. The Executive Director is a guy by the name Windell Curole.

 Several years ago, Windell said, ‘You know what, the levee isn’t high enough. I need to build it higher.

 So Windell started working on getting money and trying to bring the resources together to raise this levee. And the Corps of Engineers came in and they fought him and said, ‘You can’t do it.’ They issued cease and desist orders, and Windell refused to take no for an answer.

 He kept building that levee higher and higher, making sure that this area had the protection that it deserved – the protection that it needed. And despite the Corps telling him no, and issuing him the legal letters, telling him he had to stop, and he didn’t have permits, and he was doing it all wrong – Windell kept on going. The South Lafourche Levee District supported those actions.

 And I’ll tell you, if Windell hadn’t persevered, kept pushing or took no for an answer, if he hadn’t just stuck with his Cajun ingenuity and that sense that he had – this whole area where we are today would be underwater.

 Those extra feet of levee that they put here was exactly what was needed to protect this area of Lafourche Parish from Hurricane Ida.

To Windell, to the South Lafourche Levee District, and even to some of the people like Leon Theriot that date back decades that started this initial system – thank you.

Thank you for refusing to take no for answer. Thank you for your perseverance. Thank you for forcing your Cajun ingenuity on the Corps of Engineers,

You saved a lot of lives. You saved a lot of destruction. God bless.”