Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Congressman Garret Graves, state lawmakers, local officials, the Louisiana Office of Community Development and future homeowners for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of Audubon Estates, a relocation community for residents of the flood-prone Pecan Acres subdivision in Pointe Coupee Parish. Most homes in Pecan Acres have flooded more than 17 times in the past 30 years.

“This groundbreaking event is a momentous milestone that we have been working to achieve since 2016.  It was then that I met with Pop Bazille and the residents who shared their stories with me of years of flooding.  I made a commitment then that we would help them move to safer ground, and today we broke ground on what will soon become their new homes. This is part of Louisiana’s journey to adapting to a changing climate in a way that is proactive and deliberate,” Gov. Edwards said. “Some of our most flood-prone communities are facing similar relocations, such as the residents of Isle de Jean Charles near Houma and Silverleaf in Gonzales. Audubon Estates will be praised as a model of federal, state and local government partnerships that can provide repetitive flood-loss communities with positive outcomes that safeguard their homes and allow peace of mind.”

Infrastructure construction at Audubon Estates began in May and is expected to be complete by early 2021. Today’s groundbreaking signals the first phase of residential construction, which will produce 16 homes by summer 2021. A second phase of home construction is planned for households undergoing title clearance.

The relocation is part of the state’s Sustainable Resettlement Program, funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for property owners on Pecan Drive West and Pecan Drive East located outside New Roads. The Louisiana Office of Community Development partnered with Pointe Coupee Parish and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to purchase the flooded properties in Pecan Acres and help homeowners move out of the area into safer homes in the new community.

OCD worked with Pecan Acres residents to select the Audubon Estates relocation site and to design and name the new community, which is located north of Nelson Lane on La. 10. The 22-acre site is large enough for all eligible Pecan Acres households that wish to relocate there and is located outside of the 100-year flood zone, which is an area with a 1% or greater chance of shallow flooding each year.

More information on the relocation of Pecan Acres to Audubon Estates is available here.