Technology no salve for emotional wounds of Bayou Corne sinkhole evacuees

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POSTED: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 1:01am

UPDATED: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 5:34pm

An increase in meetings about the Bayou Corne sinkhole is not leading to an increase in confidence for people forced to evacuate their homes.

Assumption Parish residents listened to presentations from state officials for two and a half hours Wednesday night. They heard detailed presentations about seismic imaging, road detour contingencies, and vent flaring.

But for people from Bayou Corne, none of those details touched on the important issue.

"But I'm not getting a lot of benefit because no one's talking about the human side of the issue," said Norm Schewe.

The timeline for ending the mandatory evacuation is still indefinite, as the response team tries to figure out what happened first, then how to fix it.

"The technical stuff tells me that they're gaining some good information that apparently nobody had before this," Schewe said. "It must be truly unique."

Geologists talked about the 3D seismic mapping they're about to start. It will show exactly what happened thousands of feet underground, and tell Texas Brine how to stabilize the ground.

"I really wish we would have been to that point already," said Assumption Parish President Marty Triche. "I wish we would've been doing interpretations of seismic instead of now just getting started with the seismic surveying."

The surveying is expected to be finished in April, so there is no true end in sight.

"However," Triche said, "I think that people are now starting to see some progress being made."

Schewe did not share that sentiment.

"What was going to be a 2 or 3 month episode, now a 6 month episode and there doesn't seem to be any real confidence that it will be resolved in the next year or two," he stated.

Some of the evacuees say they feel so hopeless, they want to be bought out of their homes. But Texas Brine is not obligated to do that, so they do not see a buyout as a realistic solution, either.

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