Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for an elevation grant?

You may be eligible for an elevation grant if two or more flood claims have been paid on your property within a 10-year period.  To get a copy of your property’s flood loss claim history call FEMA at 1-800-427-46661. 

How can I get a community letter showing my flood zone and Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?

You can request a community letter by emailing or

My flood zone has changed from Zone X to Zone AE.  Will my rates increase immediately?

Your rates should not increase immediately.  Because you’re newly mapped into the high risk area, talk to your agent about the Newly Mapped Procedures which allows you to maintain Preferred Risk Rates (if you have a favorable loss history) for one full year after the effective date of the map.  You will see small increases each year thereafter until you’ve reached your full-risk rate.  Full-risk rates are based off of your Elevation Certificate.  If you do not have an elevation Certificate, your full-risk rate will be reached once your annual increases equals the Standard AE or X policy rates.  Share this FACT SHEET with your agent.

How do I obtain an elevation Certificate for my property?

Elevation certificates can only be completed by a licensed land surveyor, engineer, or architect.  Elevation certificates are necessary to determine the height measurements of the structure meet the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) when building or mitigating a residential or commercial structure.  Completed certificates may be on file at City of Gonzales City Hall.  If there is no Elevation Certificate on file for your property, you may want to reach out to licensed land surveyor, engineer, or architect to request an new Elevation Certificate.  There is a fee associated with getting a new certificate.

I live in a subdivision that had a LOMA and was out of the Flood Zone before the new maps became effective on 8/16/2007. Is this still valid?

You can call the Parish to find out. Most LOMC’s were renewed, but not all. Also, some subdivisions that were not in a Flood Zone previously are now in a Flood Zone.

What is X-Shaded, A, AE Zones?

A shaded X zone includes areas of the 500-year or 0.2 percent annual chance of flood.  Shaded X indicates a moderate level of risk; there is no elevation required by the City and generally no insurance is required.

Zone A is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and is a high-risk area.  This area is subject to the 100 year flood or to a 1 percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year.  No base flood information is provided.

Base flood elevations (BFE) are determined for Zone AE.  The BFE is the elevation of the crest of the base flood or 100-year flood.

Why is it called the “100-Year Flood”?

This phrase has caused much confusion over the years. Many mistakenly believe that it is a flood that occurs every 100 years. However, the phrase really means a flood that has a 1percent chance of occurring in any given year. The 100-yr flood is also now more commonly referred to as the “base flood”. Homes or buildings located within the Base Flood actually have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

Am I required to get Flood Insurance?

If you are in an X-Shaded Zone – and if you have a mortgage, it is determined by the lender if you are to carry Flood Insurance. Zones A and AE are required to have Flood Insurance if you have a mortgage.

I was in Flood Zone C before the new maps but now I am in Flood Zone AE, do I need Flood Insurance?

You will be required to have insurance if you have a mortgage. You may be able to be grandfathered to help lower your insurance but you will still need to get insurance. You can get an elevation certificate for your home and if you are at or above the BFE for your area it will help to lower your insurance.

What if my land is above the Base Flood Zone (BFE)?

If your land is above the BFE you will still be required to get Flood Insurance unless you apply to FEMA for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision based on Fill (LOMRF). If the LOMA or LOMR-F is approved, whether or not you need insurance is left up to lending institution. LOMA/LOMR-F Tutorial’s are available on FEMA’s website.

Where are the maps available for viewing?

Gonzales, Donaldsonville, and Galvez Libraries, Permitting Department, and online at

I don’t have a mortgage but I’m in a flood one. Do I have to carry Flood Insurance?

No, this decision is solely up to the homeowner but if you flood you may not be able to get help from FEMA or your insurance company.

Are the New FIRM Maps because of Katrina and Rita?

NO, the only thing Katrina and Rita did was delay the maps from coming out sooner.

I was told my BFE is 9.0. Explain

If your property is in Flood Zone AE and has a BFE (Base Flood Elevation) of 9.0, then that is the determined flood zone for your property. The BFE is the computed elevation (measured from mean sea level) to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the base flood. The relationship between the BFE and a structure’s elevation determines the flood insurance premium. Your property may be below, at or above the BFE. That is what an elevation certificate will determine. If you are building a new home or moving a Modular Home on the property the floor of your structure will have to be one foot above the BFE (Free Board). If you are moving a manufactured home (mobile home) on the property the home must be elevated such that the bottom of the I-Beam is at the BFE and the finished floor elevation is one foot above the BFE (Free Board).

What can I do to protect my home?

Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage.  The first thing is to know your flood hazard.  Check with your public works office to find out the following:

  • How high would the 100- year flood be on your building?
  • How much warning time can you expect?
  • How will you get the flood warning?
  • Will your access or evacuation route be blocked by flooded streets?

Ask your local permitting office for a free copy of Repairing your Flooded Home FEMA-234.  Next, talk to the Floodplain Administrator’s Office about protecting your property.  Describe your lot and your building.  They may recommend that you look into re-grading your lot or retrofitting your building.  “Retrofitting” means altering your building to eliminate or reduce flood damages.

Retrofitting measures include:

  • Elevating the building so that flood waters do not enter or reach any damageable portions of it
  • Constructing barriers out of fill concrete between the building and flood waters
  • “Dry floodproofing” to make the building walls and floor watertight so water does not enter it
  • “Wet floodproofing” to modify the structure and relocate the contents so that when flood waters enter the building there is little or no damage

There are several good references on retrofitting in the Ascension Parish Library.  Many of these will inform you about retrofitting techniques and help you decide which is best for you.

If you have a flooding, drainage or sewer problem, call the Drainage Department at (225) 647-2841 for advice and assistance.