Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - Hurricane season. The words often become white noise for south Louisiana residents who start hearing predictions and preparation alerts well in advance of the beginning of the season on June 1. As communities near the coast like Lafayette, Abbeville, and New Iberia continue their day to day activities with a passing thought to what the cyclone season may bring, emergency preparedness agencies and state officials look at every eventuality should a hurricane set Louisiana in its sights.

NWSNewOrleans Via Twitter
NWSNewOrleans Via Twitter

The word "contraflow" entered our collective consciousness in the early 2000s, especially during the disastrous hurricane season of 2005 that brought us Katrina and Rita. People in low lying areas or in the direct path of the storms were under mandatory evacuation orders. Vermilion and Cameron Parishes, and even some further inland like Acadia, took a walloping, and residents there know the importance of heeding evacuation warnings. Katrina was a storm of a different color in that it struck New Orleans, and the world watched as people who couldn't or didn't evacuate were affected by the storm and its after-effects.

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Getting roughly a million people out of a metropolitan area in Louisiana or any state is no small feat. People who have evacuated know that traffic is a nightmare as cars head in all directions that take them out of harm's way. State officials know the nightmare of putting that many people on the interstate system and do their best to offer drivers an alternate route.

But one of those routes isn't available to folks trying to cross from Louisiana into Mississippi (or vice versa) on US Hwy 90 because five bridges across the Pearl River are closed, and there's no money to fix them.

louisiana mississippi bridges
Courtesy Louisiana DOTD

According to, the West Pearl River bridge which crosses the Louisiana/Mississippi state line near Slidell in St. Tammany Parish has been closed since 2022.

The Sun Herald reports that state lawmakers passed a resolution to Governor Jeff Landry pushing for the bridges, which provide an alternate route to I-10, to be fixed. The publication notes that the price tag is at least $350-million.

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One lawmaker suggested that the bridge be opened temporarily in the event that residents need to evacuate, but Louisiana DOTD shut the bridge down because it is structurally unsound.

As they try to find the money or a viable solution, south Louisiana residents, especially those in the New Orleans area, will pray that storms steer clear of the Bayou State.

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