Repair work near the closed fishing pier Tammany one
The Robichaux family’s fishing poles hang on the wall of their Slidell home, rarely touched in recent years.
The St. Tammany Fishing Pier — a converted stretch of the former bridge along the Double Bridge near Slidell — has been closed for nearly three years with little information about when the hurricane-damaged structure will be repaired.
Reduced to chaos
The pier closed in late 2020 for a $1.2 million upgrade and was about to reopen just days before Hurricane Ida reduced it to chaos in August 2021. The storm destroyed the wooden portion of the concrete pier and damaged the plumbing and fire suppression systems, Which left the sidewalk in disarray. Robichauxs and many others without an important entertainment and cultural resource.
“It was a good place to take the kids and we didn’t have to worry about trespassing,” Robichaux said. “Right now, there’s nowhere to go if you don’t have a boat.”
Robichaux isn’t comfortable taking kids fishing off the bank somewhere because “you’re probably trespassing.” The 11-mile Fort Pike boat launch isn’t a great option either. “You’re fishing in two feet of water, and you have to share a 10-foot dock with five or six other people. It’s not really a good experience.”
Hope for the future
But there is a glimmer of hope. Parish officials said this week that repair work on the new storm-proofed pier could begin this year with the pier reopening sometime in 2025, provided it can secure at least $3 million in federal funding.
“The St. Tammany Fishing Pier is an undeniable asset to our community. It is critical that we rebuild the fishing pier to withstand future storms so that we are not in this situation again the next time a storm hits,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “.
The parish blamed the repair delay on time spent bargaining with FEMA over who would conduct the damage survey. The parish ended up doing just that and submitted the report earlier this year. It is now awaiting approval for a set of building plans that envision repairs and upgrades costing between $3 million and $6 million.
The new pier must be redesigned to withstand future storms by including structural concrete and adding elements that enhance coastal protection, Cooper said.
“Rebuilding the pier using the same practices and materials as before would be a waste of our time and taxpayer money,” Cooper said. “Resiliency has been a driving factor in my administration, whether it be regarding infrastructure, development or the fishing pier in St. Tammany Parish.”
Plans call for extending the boardwalk to the boat landing dock, unlike previous designs where the boardwalk stops at the beach and is exposed to waves. The lower end of the driveway, which was previously wood, could also be replaced with concrete pending FEMA approval, Cooper said.
The third option for a pier is to create a breakwater that absorbs wave pressure. A new boat ramp and additional parking are also being considered.
A new flood-resistant building is proposed for office and bathrooms, with less expensive options being no office and bathroom trailers.
But either option might suit Robichaux and his family.
“In Louisiana, fishing and enjoying the water is part of our heritage and culture,” Robichaux said. “If we want to pass that on to the next generation, we have to have a safe place to take them. It’s invaluable.”
(Tags for translation) Solid wall