A teenager died Friday while kayaking in Covington as flooding characterized as “historic” by the parish president wreaked havoc on St. Tammany Parish.
The victim was identified as Zachary Foret, 17. Foret’s body was found in the Penn Mill Lakes neighborhood between Covington and Folsom.
The St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office said Foret fell from the kayak, “possibly suffering from a separate medical event.” An autopsy will be conducted Monday, officials said.
About seven inches of rain fell on Covington, but rainfall totals reached as high as 17 inches in communities upstream, pushing rivers well beyond what they could handle and flooding entire neighborhoods.
Parish President Pat Brister has issued a disaster declaration for all of St. Tammany, a move that helps speed along state and federal assistance. She said river levels are expected to continue to rise over the next 24 hours.
Shelters were opened at the Magnolia Center, at 13296 Highway 40 in Folsom, and at Covington High School.
Brister released the following statement Friday afternoon.
“We have just learned of the first fatality here in St. Tammany Parish, and we are saddened to learn that the victim, of an apparent accidental drowning, was a teenager. On behalf of the entire Parish I would like to offer our condolences to the family and ask that all residents take this opportunity to check on anyone they might know that may need assistance in getting to safety.”