East bank’s flood protection authority starts building ‘safe house’ in Kenner | News

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East has begun construction of a $10.5 million building in Kenner where it will consolidate all of its East Jefferson operations and ride out storms.

The new headquarters — officially called the East Jefferson Levee District Safe House and Consolidated Facilities — is scheduled to open in late 2018 at 11000 Rev. Richard Wilson Drive, though the authority will continue to store materials in another building near the Jefferson-St. Charles Parish line.

The authority, created after Hurricane Katrina, combines three districts — the East Jefferson Levee District, Orleans Levee District and Lake Borgne Basin Levee District — on the east bank of the Mississippi River. A separate agency is in charge of flood protection on the west bank.

The new 27,000-square-foot building will provide office space for the authority’s 55 administrative, maintenance and police personnel. It will include a “safe room” built to withstand 200-mph winds and an 11,000-square-foot maintenance shop.

The project was funded by the authority’s millage, said Chief Administrative Officer Derek Boese.

The authority’s meetings, which rotate among Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, will continue to be held in the Joseph S. Yenni Building in Elmwood when in Jefferson.

Boese said it was decided not to have meeting space in the new building because it would have been used so infrequently. He said efficiency considerations also led to the decision to have the structure’s “safe room” double as the office for the levee district police so that it wouldn’t be used only during emergencies.

Boese said no decision has been made about the authority’s two current buildings. He said the agency will likely sell its current administrative building in Harahan, while at least part of the…

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