By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor
Louisiana U.S. Sen. John Kennedy announced Friday more than $7.5 million in federal funds coming to the state, the latest of several Federal Emergency Management Agency grants approved in recent weeks.
Kennedy, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, said $7,501,483 in FEMA grants would go southeast Louisiana drainage and infrastructure projects.
The funding includes $3.3 million to combat erosion around Southern University, $3 million for drainage improvements around West Colyell Creek and Buddy Ellis Road in Livingston Parish and $1.1 million for storm system improvements around Groom Road in Baker.
“These improvements to roads and drainage will help protect homes, businesses and school buildings in southeast Louisiana,” Kennedy said.
Friday’s announcement came about a week after Kennedy announced $5.4 million in FEMA grants for south Louisiana disaster relief related to Hurricane Ida.
That funding, announced Feb. 24, included $4.3 million to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office for emergency measures related to the hurricane and $1.1 million to St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Department for emergency protective measures.
“Louisiana is still suffering from the tremendous damage that Hurricane Ida inflicted on our state, and these funds will help our state recover,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy and Congressman Clay Higgins, R-La., announced an additional $14.6 million in FEMA grants for hurricane damage in early February.
Two projects funded with that money were covered completely by the federal government: $4 million to the Diocese of Lake Charles for remediation work at 149 buildings damaged by Hurricane Laura and $2.4 million to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury for emergency protective measures at 16 parish facilities following Laura.
Two other projects from the $14 million were funded at 90% federal cost share: $2.1 million to Office of Risk Management to restore water control facilities in New Cop Cop, McNeese Bayou, Perry Bayou, New Dyson and Little Constance; and $1 million to the same agency for repairs to the McNeese University track and field buildings. Both of those projects stemmed from Hurricane Laura.
Other projects funded in early February included $2.5 million to St. Charles Parish for emergency bulkhead repairs at Des Allemands related to damage from Hurricane Ida, and $2.4 million to the Rapides Parish School Board district wide mold remediation related to Hurricane Laura.
“Over $2 billion in federal relief has been delivered in response to Hurricanes Laura and Delta. We continue to prioritize Louisiana’s recovery needs at the federal level, and support the community as they rebuild,” Higgins said at the time.
The FEMA funding is in addition to $600 million in federal funds that will be distributed through the Louisiana Office of Community Development as part of the state’s broader action plan to help residents recover from hurricanes Laura and Delta.
Highlights of the plan include a proposed $189 million for the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance program to rehabilitate homes of the state’s most vulnerable; $107.6 million for an Affordable Rental and Homeless Prevention programs; $5.1 million in loans, grants and technical assistance for small businesses; $196 million for infrastructure and nonfederal cost share assistance programs; and $78 million for mitigation work to improve resilience to future storms.
The Office of Community Development launched a survey Feb. 1 for homeowners who sustained major damage from hurricanes Laura or Delta, which is the first step in registering for the Restore Louisiana recovery program.
The survey is available at restore.la.gov or by phone at 866-735-2001.