September 01, 2012
Disaster aid applications,
information now available
Homeowners, renters and business owners in Ascension, Livingston, Lafourche and Orleans parishes whose property was damaged or destroyed as a result of Hurricane Isaac can now register for federal and state disaster assistance.
Those parishes join the other parishes approved Friday for individual assistance: Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John and St. Tammany parishes.
Assistance includes grants for temporary housing and emergency home repairs; grants for serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance; and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Registering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency is required for federal aid, even if the person has registered with another disaster-relief organization or local community or church organization. FEMA registrants must use the name that appears on their Social Security card. Applicants will be asked to provide:
Social Security number
Address of the damaged home or apartment
Description of the damage
Information about insurance coverage
A current contact telephone number
An address where they can get mail
Bank account and routing numbers if they want direct deposit of any financial assistance.
Those seeking assistance can get more information by visiting one of the three Disaster Recovery Centers opened in Louisiana.
Specialists from the state of Louisiana, FEMA and the SBA will be on hand at the centers, which will operate all day Sunday and Labor Day. They will remain in operation until further notice at the following locations:
Slidell: Towers Building, 520 Old Spanish Trail, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Saturday.
LaPlace: 1931 W. Airline Highway, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Sunday.
Belle Chasse: Belle Chasse Auditorium, 8398 La. 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Sunday.
Individuals can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
St. James officials to watch
Blind River crest at 5.6 feet
St. James Parish operations are underway as officials and department leaders continue to monitor conditions at Blind River, the Parish President’s Office reported Saturday.
The Blind River gauge has crested at 5.6-feet at the St. James Parish Boat Club.
An evacuation order in not in effect for the parish; however a shelter is open at Lutcher High School, currently servicing about 20 residents who have water in their homes. To accommodate residents with special needs, call 1-800-228-9409.
Volunteers are still needed to fill sand bags only at the Grand Point Fire Station and the Gramercy Water Treatment Plant on La. 44.
Two parish crews continue to deliver tarps throughout the parish.
The Louisiana National Guard is distributing ice, water and MRE’s at these locations:
Sacred Heart Church in Gramercy.
Romeville Senior Citizen Center in Romeville.
Jubilee truck Stop in Vacherie.
5th District Park in Welcome.
Current information is available on the St. James Parish social media pages or by calling 1-877-997-8526. The Emergency Text Notification service is available at www.stjamesla.com under emergency notification.
sets up claims assistance
DENHAM SPRINGS — Farmers Insurance Group of Companies claims has set up its Mobile Claims Catastrophe bus here to help customers stricken by Hurricane Isaac.
The vehicle, equipped with state-of-the art satellite communications equipment, includes high-speed satellite and internet, self-contained generator power supply, satellite laptop and cell phones, claims stations, water, supplies, and a radar system to monitor incoming weather patterns, according to a company news release.
The vehicle is operating from the parking lot of the Walmart parking in Denham Springs at 904 S. Range from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Personnel from Farmers Insurance subsidiaries Foremost Insurance, 21st Century and Bristol West are on hand at the vehicle.
Farmers customers also can call Farmers’ 24-hour-7 days a week claims hotline for immediate assistance at 800-HelpPoint (1-800-435-7764).
Spanish-language claims assistance is available to Farmers customers by calling 877-RECLAMO (877-732-5266).
Foremost Insurance customers can call: 800-527-3907.
Customers with a Farmers flood policy should call 1-800-HelpPoint or our flood claims department at 800-759-8656.
Farmers customers can also go to www.Farmers.com or download the free iClaim app to file a claim.
Corps lifts restrictions
on lower Mississippi River
NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans lifted all restrictions to vessel traffic on the lower Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico as of 10 p.m. Friday, according to an agency news release.
Tows are permitted to transit the Lower Mississippi without restriction, and the Intracoastal Waterway East of Harvey Lock is open, the corps said.
The public can notify the Sector New Orleans Incident Management Team at (504) 365-2158 to report any sunken vessels, pollution in the water, suspicious activities and unsafe conditions.
For maritime emergencies, contact the Sector New Orleans Command Center at (504) 365-2200.
LOOP resumes normal operations
after hurricane shutdown
COVINGTON — The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port resumed normal operations at its offshore Marine Terminal at 1:05 a.m. today, according to a LOOP news release.
Operations at the Marine Terminal had been suspended since Monday, when personnel were relocated to onshore facilities in advance of Hurricane Isaac.
Crude oil from domestic and foreign tankers is offloaded at the Marine Terminal and transported to LOOP’s Clovelly Hub for distribution to refineries in the Gulf Coast and Midwest regions of the U.S.
LOOP LLC headquarters is in Covington.
State reopens 21 wildlife areas, refuges,
but sites in southeast Louisiana still closed
Twenty-one of Louisiana’s wildlife management areas and refuges were to reopen Saturday, The Associated Press is reporting.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said the sites include The Acadiana Conservation Corridor, Atchafalaya Delta, Attakapas, Biloxi, Grassy Lake, Hutchinson Creek, Lake Boeuf, Marsh Island, Pass a Loutre, Pointe au Chenes (except Point Farms area), Pomme de Terre, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge (except East End boat launch construction area), Salvador-Timken, Sandy Hollow, Sherburne, Spring Bayou, State WMA, Tangipahoa, Thistlethwaite, Tunica Hills and White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area.
The sites had been closed in advance of Hurricane Isaac’s landfall.
Flood waters and access roads blocked by storm debris will keep the following areas closed: Elm Hall in Assumption Parish; Joyce in Tangipahoa Parish; Lake Ramsey and Pearl River in St. Tammany Parish; Manchac in St. John the Baptist Parish; and Maurepas Swamp, which covers Ascension, Livingston, St. James and St. John parishes.
The Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge will reopen Tuesday.
For a complete list of state WMAs and refuges, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma
Most school systems
to reopen on Tuesday
Most public school districts closed because of Hurricane Isaac will reopen Tuesday, according to the Louisiana Department of Education.
The list includes the East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Zachary, Baker and Central school districts.
The St. Helena Parish school district is set to resume classes Tuesday pending the lifting of a boil-water order.
Officials in the Lafourche Parish school system are to decide Sunday when to resume classes.
In hard-hit Plaquemines Parish, it’s still unclear when public schools will resume operation.
Most school districts in western and north Louisiana remained open through the storm.
Volunteers still needed
to assist with storm efforts
Louisiana’s official volunteer agency has a critical need for assistance with relief efforts following Hurricane Isaac’s pass through the state. Those wishing to volunteer should register at www.VolunteerLouisiana.gov, after which they will be contacted by email as opportunities arise. Volunteers have the option of registering for any number of specific interest areas, but are reminded not to self-deploy, especially to the hardest hit areas of the state.
La. Workforce office
hit by power failure
The Louisiana Workforce Commission lost power, telephone and Internet access Friday.
Unemployment insurance claims cannot be filed — either on the Internet or by phone — until service is restored, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness announced.
The office said repair crews are working to restore service.
Vitter seeking probe
of non-N.O. flooding
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. David Vitter is asking the federal government to investigate whether the upgraded hurricane protection system for the New Orleans metro area inadvertently caused increased pressure and flooding from Hurricane Isaac in outlying areas such as LaPlace.
Vitter, R-La., sent a letter Friday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking an expedited scientific review to determine whether the levee system created any kind of “funneling effect” that may have contributed to more water flowing into areas outside of the protection system.
“The good news from Hurricane Isaac is that the corps’ post-Katrina hurricane protection system in metropolitan New Orleans performed well,” Vitter said.
“The bad news is that there was significant flooding in several areas outside the system, in many cases at unprecedented levels,” he added.
“The people in those areas deserve a careful, scientific, and expedited review of this issue by outside, independent experts,” Vitter said.
Vitter specifically cited the flooding in parts of Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes. The senator also thanked corps officials and employees for their work.
FEMA offering new
storm aid program
WASHINGTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Friday an amendment to the major disaster declaration for Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Isaac to include the Individual Assistance Program.
Federal funding is available to affected individuals in Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households.
Individuals and households can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov, by Web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling (800) 621-3362 or 1 (800) 462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.
The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
For more information, visit http://www.fema.gov.
Storm debris removal
set to begin in Baker
BAKER — The city has hired a debris removal contractor to begin picking up Hurricane Isaac storm debris next week, a city spokesman said Friday.
Baker Fire Department spokesman Howard Ward said the contractor is expected to begin collections on Thursday, but its operations only will be for a limited amount of time.
“We’re asking that residents get the debris in their yards out to the street as soon as possible,” he said, adding that residents should not burn the debris.
In a related development, the annual Labor Day parade has been canceled because of damage to the Municipal Building, city spokeswoman Ginger Vann said.
The parade had been scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and travel on La. 19 from Lavey Lane to the Municipal Building, where free food, beverages and entertainment were planned.
Zachary residents asked to sort debris
ZACHARY — City Public Works Director Chris Davezac said city workers will begin picking up Hurricane Isaac storm debris Tuesday but collections will be limited to tree limbs and brush.
Debris other than wood waste will be picked up by Waste Management, the city’s regular garbage- and trash-collection contractor.
Davezac said residents are asked to keep separate the two types of debris and place the piles near the road and clear of low limbs or power lines.