When it comes to weathering natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, everyone in the Metro New Orleans area is ultimately in the same boat. St. Tammany residents are appreciative of the fact that our friends and relatives on the Southshore are protected from a 100-year flood, and enjoy the comfort of knowing they are safer today than they were eight years ago.
Since 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita set our region in their sights, our congressional delegation, local leaders, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal government and each and every affected citizen, has played a role in the effort to find flood mitigation solutions and secure funding to implement those solutions in southeast Louisiana. Here in St. Tammany, parish government has independently undertaken the task to direct over $240 million to flood mitigation projects.
It continues to come to my attention that our sister parishes on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain repeatedly reap the benefits of the advocacy efforts of regional leaders. We, however, remained patient, even through the devastating losses handed to us again by Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Isaac. It is increasingly difficult to continue to wait our turn to receive the attention, effort and funding from the federal government and the Corps of Engineers.
Since 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent billions on implementing a 100-year flood control system, billed by some as the best flood control system of any coastal community in the United States, to protect the New Orleans area. About $14.5 billion later, we are supportive of those efforts, but unfortunately, not one single dollar, nickel or penny of those billions was spent to protect one resident in St. Tammany Parish.
When will St. Tammany residents be afforded the same peace of mind as our neighboring parishes? When will we have the comfort in knowing that our property, our places of work, our businesses, and most importantly, our families are finally protected?
Patricia Brister, parish president
St. Tammany Parish