News for Wednesday 081716
By Dave Graichen
The APD reports the investigation is ongoing in the case of a man who was beaten and robbed in a Mac Arthur drive motel last week. 55-year-old Michael Butler of Lecompte later died of his injuries, but not before he was able to tell police what had happened. Butler told police a female had knocked on his door, and that he opened the door to briefly talk to her. While doing so, "two or three males entered and began beating him. Police have arrested 4 individuals, three of whom are juveniles, in connection with the incident. All four were charged with criminal conspiracy, second-degree robbery and first-degree murder.
Governor John Bel Edwards says 40-thousand storm victims have signed up for government assistance through FEMA as result of the historic flood. 20 parishes have now been declared federal disaster areas are eligible for this aid, but more may be added in the coming days. To register for aid visit disaster-assistance-dot-gov.
The state registrar for vital records says eleven people have died as a result of the severe flooding, including one fatality here in Rapides Parish. Five of the flood-related deaths have occurred in East Baton Rouge Parish. Coroner Doctor Beau Clark says the deaths are labeled as accidental drownings. The latest victim to be identified from Baton Rouge is Bill Borne, who was a successful businessman in the health care industry.
Livingston parish Sheriff’s deputies have arrested several people on looting charges, and they are reportedly working to keep looters away from homes and businesses. Parish President Layton Ricks says this is the worst flooding Livingston parish has ever seen. Curfews are in effect for Livingston, East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes from 10pm until 6 am.
The Attorney General’s Office is working to make sure flood victims are protected from price gougers and scammers. A-G Jeff Landry says they’ve opened up their consumer protection hotline so people can report scams, and he says they’ve teamed up with the online donation website, GoFundMe, to make sure contributions are really going to flood victims. Finally, Landry advises storm victims to make sure all contractors for home repairs are licensed in Louisiana. He says there is a list on the state licensing board’s website.
About 75-percent of Louisianans do not have flood insurance, which is bad news for the thousands of homeowners who lost everything in the flood. Michael Barry with the Insurance Information Institute says FEMA assistance will be available for flood victims who live in a parish that are part of the federal disaster declaration, but it will may not be enough to cover the cost to rebuild. Barry says the typical FEMA direct assistance payments are around $10-thousand, depending on the disaster. However, Barry says there is good news for motorists whose cars were damaged in the flood, if they have comprehensive coverage they are covered.
In the wake of the deadly floods in south Louisiana, many residents are coming together to lend one another a helping hand. Volunteer Louisiana Executive Director, Judd Jeansonne, says if anyone wants to volunteer, the best thing they can do is be patient because too many volunteers at once creates a so-called disaster after the disaster. He says many areas are still in the emergency response phase doing search and rescues. Jeansonne says people who want to help, can register at VolunteerLouisiana.gov because more volunteers will be needed, when we move into the recovery phase. So far about 1,000 people have registered to volunteer through their website.
Acadia Parish is among the 20 parishes declared a federal disaster area after the devastating floods plagued southern Louisiana. Director of the Acadia Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Lee Hebert says right now they have extensive flooding and they are not in the clear yet. Hebert says because they are a very rural community, Acadia only has one open shelter but many flood victims are staying with family and friends. He says they’re praying the waters go down because so many residents have lost everything.
Many flood victims are returning to their homes and finding devastating damage. LSU AgCenter Housing Specialist Claudette Reichel says residents should make a personal shopping trip before going home to buy protective gear and cleaning supplies.