News for Tuesday 082316
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy on Monday signed an executive order that could lead to the city taking possession of the vacant Weiss & Goldring building. The city would also secure the building and begin conducting environmental assessments on the property. There’s just one hitch, the executive order is contingent upon the mayor receiving assurance, from the building’s owner Teddy Price, that the donation of the building to the city is “irrevocable.” The City Council two weeks ago passed a resolution giving Roy the authority to continue negotiations about the donation of the building.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Louisiana today. According to the White House the President will get a first-hand look at the devastating flooding, hear from local officials and tell the people of Louisiana that the American people will be with them as they rebuild.
Here are the latest numbers on the Great Flood of 2016. Over 28-hundred people remain in shelters, an estimated 60-thousand homes damaged, over 106-thousand people have registered for federal disaster aid and there’s 40 state highways still closed.
Entergy announces power has been restored to all the homes in flood ravages southern part of the state that can safely receive it. They say about 2-thousand customers are still without power because of extensive flood damage to their homes. Overall, over 32-thousand Entergy customers were affected by the historic flooding.
Vermilion parish is beginning to enter the recovery phase of their flood relief efforts. Emergency Preparedness director, Rebecca Broussard says some homes in Vermilion Parish had water up to the roof, and several roads are still underwater. She says usually flooding in Vermilion is the result of storm surge from hurricanes, but that’s not the case this time. She says 11-hundred homes in the parish flooded.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is partnering with animal shelters around the country to help rescue and find homes for animals that were left behind when the flood waters rose. H-S-L Executive Director, Jeff Dorson, says they are still doing animal rescues in Livingston parish.
Dorson says they are looking for people who want to volunteer or shelter animals. He says people can find out more and make monetary donations at HumaneLA.org.
The Amite River, which contributed to much of the flooding in southeast Louisiana, has finally fallen below flood stage. Freddie Zeigler, with the National Weather Service in Slidell, says the Amite is still above flood stage at French Settlement in Livingston Parish, but that should change by sunset tonight. Zeigler says unfortunately the flood threat is not over yet, as backwater remains a problem in some areas.
It’s estimated it will take at least one year to recover from the historic floods. That’s according to LSU Economist Jim Richardson who says Livingston Parish, which was the hardest hit, will need a while to get back to some kind of normalcy. He expects big box companies should be back on their feet quickly, but it could take smaller businesses longer.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says help is still needed to get the muck out of flood victims homes. Mike Steele with GOHSEP says volunteers can sign up at volunteer-louisiana-dot-gov. He says the damage from this flood is similar to what was seen after Hurricane Katrina.
State officals estimate about 60-thousand homes were flooded and many displaced residents are looking for new places to live. Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors president Tiffany Palmer says there aren’t many homes left, especially when it comes to apartments.
Palmer says she doesn’t expect people to flee the area completely, but many will look for homes in areas that did not flood.
Homes and vehicles were not the only things lost in the recent flood, as the LSU AgCenter reports hundreds of thousands of acres of crops were lost. Kurt Guidry with the AgCenter says the total value of crops lost is about $110 million.
Congressman Garret Graves says once Congress returns next month, first order of business is to address the unmet needs of the property owners whose homes were flooded and didn’t have flood insurance. He says in order for our community to recover there needs to be an assistance package to help those affected. Graves says if these flood victims end up owing more on their house than it’s worth, they could eventually be on a government poverty program.