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2nd Street and Huey P. Long Ave.
Gretna, LA 70053
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Know Your Local Flood Hazard

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Things You Should Know About
Flood Risks in Gretna
  1. Flood Insurance

    Homeowner's and business multiperil insurance policies do not cover losses from flooding. Flood insurance policies must be purchased as a separate policy. Renters also can buy flood policies to protect their personal property up to $100,000. The maximum policy amount available from the federal government for a single family residence is $250,000.

    You are eligible for flood insurance because Jefferson Parish participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. If the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) flood maps show that a property is in an AE or VE Zone, flood insurance is required by law in order to get a loan or mortgage. There is a 30 day waiting period before a flood insurance policy becomes effective. In Jefferson Parish, the purchase of flood insurance on a voluntary basis is wise even outside of Special Flood Hazard Areas. Call your insurance agent for flood insurance information. In May 1995, August 2005, and September 2008, flooding occurred in areas outside the Special Flood Hazard Areas.

    You must have an active flood insurance policy to be eligible for any disaster relief. To be eligible for any FEMA grant program, you must have had an active flood insurance policy at the time of the flooding event. Once you've purchased flood insurance, keep your policy and an itemized list of your furnishings, clothing, and valuables in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box. Call your agent or broker immediately if you suffer flood damage.

  2. Property Protection

    Many things can be done to an existing building to minimize or eliminate the potential for flood damage.

    Sand, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber can be used to protect a structure temporarily. These supplies are readily available from a number of retail outlets throughout Gretna. Personal items can also be elevated or moved to upper floors.

    Permanent flood proofing measures for flood-prone structures are preferable. These permanent retrofitting methods include elevating the structure, building flood walls and closures, and protecting utilities.

    Contact the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers at 862-2358, Floodplain Services, the Gretna Building and Regulatory Office at 363-1563, or Jefferson Parish's Department of Engineering at 736-6500 for information about flood proofing.

    The Floodplain Administrator can also make site visits to discuss local flood problems or flood proofing techniques by calling 363-1563. You can also get information on retrofitting, flood insurance, flood protection, and floodplain management from the Gretna Public Library, or the Jefferson Parish regional libraries on the east and west bank or on the following web site:

    Before proceeding with retrofitting measures or any construction and development, (i.e. filling, dredging, remodeling) check with the Building and Regulatory Department for applicable building codes, permit requirements, zoning restrictions or to report illegal development.

  3. Drainage System Maintenance

    To be habitable, Jefferson Parish needs a sophisticated drainage system allowing storm waters to pump over the levee system that surrounds the parish. The Jefferson Parish Department of Drainage has a regular program of drainage system maintenance. You can help by cleaning catch basins in front of your property. Also do not dump debris in catch basins, drainage ditches, and canals.

    Debris can cause the drainage system to function improperly and cause flooding.  Call the Department of Public Works at 363-1579 if you have questions or need to report illegal dumping.

    Gretna ordinance Sections 94-122 prohibits illegal discharges into the drainage system.

  4. Flood Hazard

    Flooding can occur during any season of the year. Because so much of the land is low, your property may be in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the use of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM).

    The most common source of flood water in the parish is rain. In the late summer, hurricanes and their tidal surges also pose a serious threat. The last major flooding occurred in May 1995, August 2005, and September 2008.

    Flood water collects because much of Gretna lies at or below sea level with land prone to subsidence or sinking. The low, flat ground provides little natural gravity drainage so water that falls in the parish must be pumped out. Maps showing flood hazard areas are on file at your local library or the Gretna City Hall Office of Building and Regulatory Inspections. To see what zone your property is located in, visit your local library and review the appropriate FIRM or call the Floodplain Administrator at 363-1563 or online at the department's homepage on

  5. Flood Safety

    The parish flood warning system can provide an early notification of flooding conditions.

    Flood Watch means that flooding is possible. A Flash Flood Watch means that a flash flood, which can happen very fast with little warning, is possible. A Flood Warning means a flood is occurring or will occur soon; the flood may take several hours to develop. A Flash Flood Warning means a flash flood is occurring or will happen very soon; you should seek safety immediately. Listen to local stations for information and instructions. Keep a supply of fresh batteries on hand to operate a portable radio in case electrical power is lost. Tune your radio to 870AM or 101.9 FM for emergency broadcasts.

    If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter which will be announced by the parish at the time of the event. All citizens are encouraged to leave the parish during these instances. Turn off all utilities at the main switch, if time permits and it is safe to do so. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area. Electricity can be especially dangerous during and after flooding.

    If you're caught in a building by suddenly rising water, move to a higher floor or the roof (you may need a tool on hand to break through to the roof. Take drinking water, .a flashlight and a portable radio. Wait for help.

    If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it. Swimming or playing in or near flood water is life threatening. Drainage ditches and canals carry fast moving flood water and are extremely dangerous. Explain this to your children. Do not attempt to walk through flood water that is more than knee deep.

  6. Floodplain Development Permit Requirements

    Most of Gretna is located in a floodplain. All developments, regardless of the location, require a permit to build, fill, and any other type development. Additionally, if any citizen observes an illegal development in the floodplain, it should be reported immediately to the Community Rating System Coordinator at 363-1563.

    Contact the Gretna Office of Building and Regulatory Inspections to obtain the necessary permits at 363-1563.

  7. Substantial Improvement/Damage Requirements

    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as Gretna ordinances, require that when the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the fair market value; then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to the same standards.

    A residence or building damaged so that the cost of repairs equals or exceeds 50% of the structure's fair market value must also be elevated at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in flood zones where BFE's exist. Questions regarding this subject may be directed to the Gretna Office Of Building and Regulatory Inspections at 363-1563.

  8. Flood Warning System

    Jefferson Parish operates a flood warning system to alert citizens about the possibility of impending flooding caused by hurricaries, tropical storms, and storm water from prolonged thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter storms, high winds, or a combination thereof.

    A warning period will be available for most emergency situations, but the amount of lead time may vary from hazard to hazard. Proper action during this warning period will save lives, reduce injuries, and protect property. These warnings are routinely disseminated through the Emergency Alert System (EAS). When three (3) short dual tones are heard over TV and radio stations, citizens should immediately tune to Cox Cable TV Channel 6 (Government Access Channel).

    In the event of an electrical-power outage tune in to WWL Radio 870 AM or 101.9 FM for initial warning information and subsequent updates.

  9. Natural & Beneficial Functions

    A large portion of Gretna is at or below sea level. While there are some areas that are above this level, the entire city is prone to the possibility of flooding. This is primarily because we are surrounded by rivers, lakes, bayous, and canals which necessitate our protection through a series of levee systems. We therefore must use drainage canals and pumping stations to remove storm water as quickly. as possible into the surrounding waterways outside the levee system.

    Citizens who observe any harmful activity with regard to our canal systems should immediately report it to the Gretna Department of Public Works at 363-1579.

    For levee systems, contact either the East Jefferson Levee District office at 733-0087 or West Jefferson Levee District office at 340-0318. The importance of protecting our flood prevention resources cannot be overstated.

  10. FEMA Elevation Certificates

    These certificates are necessary to determine Base Flood Elevation (BFE) when building a commercial or residential structure, or mitigation of a structure which has been repetitively flooded or substantially damaged.

    A licensed surveyor is the only person that can provide this service. Completed certificates should be on file in the Gretna Office of Building and Regulatory Inspections for the above mentioned structures built after 1992. Copies of these certificates can be obtained by the owner by calling 363-1563.

    If you suffer property damage during a flood, immediately report your damages to the Gretna Office of Building and Regulatory Inspections at 363-1563. This data will allow the Gretna to obtain an accurate count on property damage in the area and apply for available Federal Assistance.

    Remember you must still call the FEMA 800 number that will be announced after the incident to file your flood claim. For more information on flood insurance and other flood related data, you can visit the Gretna Public Library or the Jefferson Parish Eastbank or Westbank Regional Library. Additionally, for a list of flood related websites, visit then select Flood Mitigation Information. You may also visit for additional information.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this service, please contact Danika Gorrondona.