News for Tuesday 081616
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards spent time in Acadiana on Monday as he continues to assess the damage from the second historic flood Louisiana has seen this year. Edwards says he is touring the affected areas of the state with his cabinet members, as well as the FEMA liaison to the White House. He says seeing the damage first hand could help more parishes be declared federal disaster areas. He says they are trying to transition from the response phase to the recovery phase.
Tangipahoa, St. Helena, East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes have so far been declared federal disaster areas. Flood victims can register their damage online or at disasterassistance-dot-gov.
Officials are expecting to find that up to 70 percent of the more than 50,000 homes in Livingston Parish will have been damaged by floodwaters.
Southwestern parts of the state have also experienced severe flooding. Donald Jones with the National Weather Service says Lafayette, New Iberia and the Lake Arthur area are having the biggest problems. He says more rain is expected this week, which could worsen the situation.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is optimistic those with flood insurance, who sustained damage from this recent round of flooding will see financial relief soon. Donelon says insurance companies moved quickly last March, when Louisiana saw extensive flooding. Donelon says those without flood insurance can receive federal aid, if the parish they live in has been declared a federal disaster area. So far, only four parishes have been designated, but Donelon says more will be added to the list
Entergy says about 14-thousand customers are without power in The Southern part of the state. . The utility company says they have a crew of 500 to help get the lights turned back on, but floodwaters are continuing to prevent them from restoring power to about 12,500 customers
The Louisiana Department of Health is warning people about the risks of wading through flood waters that could possibly be contaminated. Spokesperson Bob Johanessen says sewage, dangerous contaminants and other debris could cause health problems. Johanessen says also be aware of venomous snakes or other dangerous animals that could be in the water that flowed out of its banks
There are over 11-thousand who are in shelters in Louisiana, over 5000 in Baton Rouge alone, as a result of the flooding. That’s according to the state Department of Children and Family Services. And more individuals continue to show up at these shelters, especially the one at the Baton Rouge River Center.
St. John’s United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge is just one of many impromptu shelters that have been set up across south Louisiana in the wake of historic floods. Rev. Dr. Jay Hogwood says St. John’s takes up donations for their Shepherd’s Market, which is usually used to feed the needy in the community. He says as of late, it’s been a vital resource to provide meals for people who, for now, are calling St. John’s home.
The Town Talk Reports Renovation of the Rapides Parish Coliseum is on pace, but officials plan to hold off for about a year before renovating the inside of the Coliseum’s Exhibition Hall. The new Coliseum Executive Director Richard Karamatic said holding off for about a year before reopening Exhibition Hall will give him time to get feedback from promoters and others to help him determine how to configure the inside of the facility to best accommodate the events that will take place there. The Coliseum itself is set to reopen by the end of the year.
A report from the Legislative Auditor’s office released yesterday claims that Former Louisiana prison official Tonia Cain directed subordinates to alter or shred records related to concessions sales at Avoyelles Correctional Center, apparently to hide the fact that more than $30,000 in cash was missing. The report found Cain, who was the prison’s business manager and wife of former Avoyelles Warden Nate Cain, was the only employee to regularly obtain and/or count cash collections and she did so alone. The report has been turned over to the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s office.