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Breaux Bridge not hurt by closure of interstate

Breaux Bridge — On the whole, business here apparently didn’t suffer that much from the closure of I-10 for a week and a half while workers capped a gas well blowout scarcely a football field away from the twin spans over the Atchafalaya Basin.

Mayor Jack Dale Delhomme announced at last week’s City Council meeting that city sales tax collection for the month of November — the interstate was closed Nov. 15 to Nov. 25 — was more than $20,000 over the collection for the same time period in 2006.

“And I might remind you that November of 2006 was a very good month,” said Delhomme.

“The moral of this story is buy local,” Delhomme said.

The mayor and other public officials held a press conference during the closure in which some urged local shopping to offset the loss of business from the 40,000-plus vehicles a day, on average, that roll through Breaux Bridge via the interstate.

And while that strategy might have worked overall, there are still at least one lawsuit is pending by merchants like truck stops and restaurants that stayed mostly empty during the closure.

Sales tax revenue to the city for the month of November was $138,121.43, Delhomme reported last week. The figure is $20,268.16 over sales tax revenue for November 2006.

I-10 was shut down because of a gas well explosion, leaving the interstate empty from the Lawtell exit to the Louisiana Avenue exit in Lafayette. State Police eventually opened the section of the closed interstate west of the Atchafalaya to local traffic only.

But the restaurants, truck stops and other businesses along I-10 were counting on a financial shot in the arm from motorists passing through on Thanksgiving holiday trips or to attend the Bayou Classic football game in New Orleans and an LSU football game in Baton Rouge.

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