Ground Gives Way, and a Louisiana Town Struggles to Find Its Footing
BAYOU CORNE, La. — It was nearly 16 months ago that Dennis P. Landry and his wife, Pat, on a leisurely cruise in their Starcraft pontoon boat, first noticed a froth of bubbles issuing from the depths of Bayou Corne, an idyllic, cypress-draped stream that meanders through swampy southern Louisiana. They figured it was a leaky gas pipeline. So did everyone else.
Under state order, Texas Brine has mounted a broad, though some say belated, effort to pump gas out of sandy underground layers where it has spread. Bayou Corne is pocked with freshly dug wells, with more to come, their pipes leading to flares that slowly burn off the methane. That, everyone concedes, could take years.
State surveys show that one of the largest concentrations of methane lies directly under Mr. Landry’s neighborhood, a manicured subdivision of brick homes, many with decks overlooking the bayou and its cypresses. Yet only two families have chosen to leave, and while the Landrys are packed just in case, the gas detector in their home offers enough reassurance to remain.