Archive for July 25th, 2007

What’s in the news for da parishes 7/25/07?

July 25, 2007

SBA ERRORS from The New York TimesAgency Erred in Canceling Loans to 8,000 Along Gulf, Audit Finds, By RON NIXON

“We all wanted to see the loans processed and disbursed more quickly and the red tape removed,” said Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the committee. “Unfortunately, even with good intentions, some disaster victims are still being left behind, and that’s not acceptable.”

More NYT Katrina

National Geographic on New Orleans(Link Courtesy of –The Mosquito Coast)August National Geographic

The National Geographic seems to educate the masses, however, their lack of some information concerning New Orleans is evident. Louisiana State Text books from the 1950’s put New Orleans above sea level, whereas, current studies (last 20+ years) have technologically advanced systems like GIS that have assisted in determining issues of both Coastal Erosion and “sinking”.

Legislator resigns seat for DOTD post
By MARSHA SHULER
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: Jul 25, 2007 – Page: 18A

“State Rep. Roy Quezaire, D-Donaldsonville, resigned his House seat to take an $86,500-a-year job with the state’s transportation agency…

…House Clerk Butch Speer said no election would be called to fill the remainder of Quezaire’s term, which ends in January.

Under state law, Salter must call an election if there is more than six months left in a term. But he has discretion if there’s less than six months remaining.

Qualifying for the regular election opens in September. Quezaire’s House District 58 includes parts of Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes.

Quezaire said his experience in the legislative arena on transportation issues makes him “absolutely” qualified for the new job…”

Maybe Quezaire can assist with transportation issues from the inside the DOTD that face the areas he formerly represented. I wonder if he catches a bus to work…I doubt it. LA SWIFT says it make intermediate stops in St. James, however, there is nothing to indicate from St. James Parish where these stops are located (from on-line sources.) Most of the issues found over the web concern the tourist industry in the parish.

RTA plans to pick up new buses
Fleet to get smaller and more efficient

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By Frank Donze

… “We’re losing riders,” said Commissioner Barbara Major. “My friends have taken to their bicycles because they can’t depend on the buses. It’s awful. It’s been two years. If we can’t get them a decent bus, we’ve failed.”

More than half of the RTA’s 350 buses were wiped out by flooding, and most of the vehicles that survived Katrina are nearing the end of their 12-year life expectancy. As a result, the agency has been forced to use a patchwork fleet of its own run-down buses and castoffs from other transit systems. ”

Two years later...

St. Charles staff plans shelter role
If evacuated, they would help Avoyelles

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By Matt Scallan

Canal eroding, but still safe, corps says
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By Sheila Grissett

“…A high-ranking official in the corps’ hurricane protection office said Tuesday that three district engineers doing a detailed walking inspection of the floodwalls and water-side canal banks after Hurricane Katrina saw erosion in the area, photographed it and included it in a “trip report” that should have been passed along to the East Jefferson Levee District for action.

“This scour was noted right after the storm,” said John Grieshaber, executive support chief in the Hurricane Protection Office.

“We would normally consider it (scour) a maintenance issue . . . and show it to the appropriate” levee district, he said.

Report not received

But Fran Campbell, executive director of both the East Jefferson Levee District and the regional levee authority, said no one from the corps gave her the report or told her about the erosion. ..”

…A section of the east floodwall breached during Katrina…”

Someone should be fired for that…

Marsh Maneuvers’ Teaches 4-H’ers About Coastal Environment
Tom Hess

Students at Marsh Maneuvers listen to Tom Hess, at left, talk about coastal erosion at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge. Hess, a biologist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, told the students that several erosion control methods will be tested at the refuge.

Scotsman.com Living, High and Dry by: SHAILA DEWAN

“THIS was not how Cindy Cole pictured her life at 26: living in a caravan park wedged amid the refineries and cane fields of tiny St James Parish, 18 miles from the nearest supermarket, and sustaining three small children on nothing but food stamps, with no playground, no security and nowhere to go.

Rather than being here at Sugar Hill, Cole was supposed to be paying 275 a month for a two-bedroom house in New Orleans – next door to her mother, across the road from her aunt, with a child-care network that extended the length and breadth of her large family. With her house destroyed and no job or savings, however, her chances of recreating that old reality are slim.

For thousands of evacuees like Cole, going home to New Orleans has become a vague and receding dream. Living in bleak circumstances, they cannot afford to go back, or have nothing to go back to. In the two years since Hurricane Katrina hit, the shock of evacuation has hardened into the grim limbo of exile…”

“…Hardly any of the 77,000 rental units destroyed in New Orleans have been rebuilt, in fact, and the local and federal governments have done almost nothing to make it possible for low-income renters like Cole to return. Because she was never a homeowner, she is not eligible for a federally funded Road Home grant to rebuild her house, destroyed in Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters along with the rest of her neighbourhood…”

“…IN MANY ways, evacuees have become the region’s new pariahs, shunned by towns and parishes, who have erected a series of legal barriers to keep them out. At least five jurisdictions in Louisiana and neighbouring Mississippi – St Bernard Parish, St John the Baptist Parish, Jefferson Parish (all of which are in Louisiana), Pascagoula and Ocean Springs (both in Mississippi) – have begun revoking permits for trailers or allowing their zoning exemptions to expire. Those moves affect families still living in some 7,400 trailers across the Gulf Coast, according to the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, a group based in Washington that has sued to stop the evictions…”

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights was founded to fight racial discrimination. Katrina didn’t discriminate…

“There are severe racial overtones to these actions. There’s all this concern that black and low-income people will be coming into your neighbourhood.” – Joe Rich, project director.

The Committee’s major objective is to use the skills and resources of the bar to obtain equal opportunity for minorities by addressing factors that contribute to racial justice and economic opportunity.

“…In Jefferson Parish, a suburb just west of New Orleans, officials blocked a 200-unit complex for the elderly, citing concerns that it would increase crime, and are fighting the construction of a second similar complex nearby.

“Some people just lack any degree of civilisation,” insists Chris Roberts, a Jefferson Parish councillor who has fought to remove Fema trailers and block subsidised housing developments. “I think low-income housing which is not properly run invites those people.” He complains that such residents are often idle, but many evacuees have burdens that prevent them from working…”

Like lack of transportation services….Day care….Adult day care… Home Health care… Health care…Phone service…etc, typical low income issues city, town, parish, and state officials ignore continuously. And therefore, the “persistent poverty issues in Louisiana continue.”

I finally did find transportation at the St. James website. And Jefferson Parish transit info can be found here. St. Charles lists a “demand responsive” transit from the Council on Aging also used by the general public. This means you have to call first, usually. The fees are outrageous.

LA DOTD website I cannot see the links clearly on my puter… the website mouse over links are icky. Here’s the rural link.

Transportation in rural areas of Louisiana demands improvement.

Iberia Parish President Quits

The Daily Iberian – 25 July 2:10PM

“NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) — Iberia Parish President Will Langlinais agreed to resign Wednesday to avoid prosecution on charges that he used public funds to do work on private property and pressured parish employees to help in political fundraising.

At a court hearing, Langlinais also pleaded no contest to malfeasance in office and agreed to pay $50,000 in restitution. Sentencing was scheduled Aug. 2…”