Livingston, Tangipahoa parishes targeted for disaster aid
Hurricane Isaac flooded more than 1,500 homes in Tangipahoa Parish, authorities said Thursday.
About 3,000 homes in the parish received damage from the storm, Parish President Gordon Burgess said.
Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard has estimated thousands of homes were flooded or damaged by wind in Livingston Parish, but officials there said they have no firm numbers yet.
While floodwaters continued to recede in Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes Thursday, both also received good federal news.
A federal disaster recovery center will open Friday morning on South Satsuma Road near Interstate 12 to assist Livingston Parish storm victims, Parish President Layton Ricks said.
And in Tangipahoa Parish, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to provide individual assistance to flood victims, as it previously has agreed to do in Livingston and some other parishes, Burgess said.
That will help a lot of people, especially those who didn’t have flood insurance, he said.
Burgess said some Isaac flooding victims said their property had never flooded in the past and didn’t think they needed flood insurance.
FEMA helps with damage that isn’t covered by insurance, Burgess said.
The federal agency won’t pay for all of the damage, but in some cases it can provide a lot of help both to homeowners and renters, he said.
“So far, we have identified 1,500 homes that had water in them, and we expect to find more,” Burgess said of Tangipahoa Parish.
In addition to the flooded homes, a number of businesses and camps were flooded, and thousands more buildings were damaged or isolated by flood waters, he said.
Most of the flooding occurred in the southern part of the parish, with businesses in the Manchac area getting hit hard, Burgess said.
Business owners, homeowners and renters who received storm damage may be eligible for grants from FEMA and low-interest loans from the federal Small Business Administration, officials said.
Two food stamp offices — one in the northern part of the parish and one in the southern part — may open as soon as Sunday, said Dawson Primes, director of the Tangipahoa Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Two disaster recovery centers, one in the north and one in the south, also will open soon, he said.
The parish is in the process of finding suitable sites for those operations, Primes said.
In Livingston Parish, storm water has drained off La. 22, a main highway across the southern part of the parish, Perry Rushing, chief of operations for the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday afternoon.
Some flooded vehicles had to be towed from that road Thursday, he said.
Many of La. 22’s side roads and streets remained flooded, Rushing said.
Meanwhile, drainage slowed down on the Amite River Diversion Canal on Thursday, and Ricks said he wasn’t able to reopen parish waterways to boats.
An agreement has been reached on debris removal along parish roads and contracts will be signed Monday, Ricks said.
Pickup won’t start immediately, because too many people haven’t had a chance to haul debris to the roadside, particularly in areas that have been flooded, he said.
“We don’t want to have to do several sweeps,” Ricks said.
The state Department of Transportation and Development announced Thursday it will begin debris removal on state highways in District 62 Saturday.
District 62 includes all of Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes.
Initial removal efforts will focus on vegetative debris. Demolition debris will be removed on subsequent passes, according to the agency.
The federal disaster recovery center will be located at 28975 S. Satsuma Road, Suite D, said Mark Harrell, director of the Livingston Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.
The center, which will include both FEMA and SBA representatives, will open at 11 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Friday, Harrell said.
Red Cross and two church charities involved in helping flood victims will occupy adjacent offices, he said.