BUTTE LAROSE - After three weeks of waiting, watching and worrying, residents of Butte LaRose are cautiously optimistic that the worst of the Flood of 2011 has passed without catastrophic damage.
Reason for optimism continued throughout the week as a mandatory evacuation was lifted, the pontoon bridge was opened on Friday afternoon, the Atchafalaya River levels began to fall and water from backwater flooding appeared to be either staying at the same level or slightly receding.
"This is it. This is the highest it's gotten," said Tommy Girouard, a resident of Herman Dupuis Road who had brought his houseboat to a spot next to his home, where about two feet of water covered an area that was normally dry.
"I'm not even sure it's started to drop yet; maybe a quarter of an inch or a half-inch each day," Girouard said.
In the previous weeks, Girouard had taken precautions to protect his home. He removed walls, a hot tub that seats up to 12 people, a pool table, refrigerators, air conditioning units and nearly everything else from his house, worried that flood waters would eventually reach several feet high.
"We weren't taking any chances. I know some people are upset they had to do a lot of work, but they didn't know what would happen," Girouard said. "We got lucky with the north wind we had the first few days, plus the fact that the ground was so dry. It wouldn't have taken much more, something going the other way for us, for this to have a bigger impact."
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