Louisiana News Briefs

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

White House announces increase to Hurricane Laura disaster assistance

The federal government is increasing its share of the cost for Louisiana’s recovery from Hurricane Laura, the White House announced Monday.

Federal funding was made available Aug. 28 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation, and Other Needs Assistance at 75% of the total eligible costs. The state would have been required to come up with the other 25%.

Under the new order, the federal share, including direct federal assistance, has been increased to 90% of the total eligible costs, except for assistance previously authorized at 100%. The Public Assistance program helps governments and private nonprofits “save lives and protect property, and assists with funding for permanently restoring community infrastructure affected by a federally declared incident,” FEMA said.

“By increasing the federal cost share to 90 percent, President Biden has lessened the impact to our state and local government budgets for the emergency response and recovery work following Hurricane Laura and will improve our ability to protect our citizens,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

Casino sector down 7.9% in January

Louisiana’s river-adjacent casinos took in 7.9% less money in January than in January 2020, according to the most-recent report to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

The New Orleans market was down 13.5%. In Lake Charles, where one property remains closed after Hurricane Laura, revenue was down 8.2%. Shreveport/Bossier was down 6%, largely because of the closure of DiamondJacks, although that market’s Margaritaville property reported a 36.3% revenue spike. The Baton Rouge market slipped 5.6%, with the Belle of Baton Rouge reporting the biggest decline in the state at 43.4%.

Harrah’s’ New Orleans land-based property, which has its own deal with the state and is reported separately, was down 39.2% compared with January 2020.

GOHSEP asking residents to report weather damage

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is asking residents who received damage from the recent winter storms to fill out an online survey.

The survey, which can be found at damage.la.gov, is meant to help local and state emergency managers collect data for the damage assessments that are part of the recovery process, officials said. 

The survey is voluntary, does not replace reporting damage to your insurance company and does not guarantee any federal disaster relief assistance.