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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2008
Contact: Christina Stephens, christina.stephens@la.gov

LRA Reactivates Task Force Aimed at Long-term Needs of Southwest Louisiana
Task force to include recovery leaders from Texas

BATON ROUGE, La. (May 23, 2008) - In an effort to properly identify the ongoing recovery needs of the communities devastated by Hurricane Rita, the Louisiana Recovery Authority announced today the reactivation of its task force charged with tackling issues affecting Southwest Louisiana in the aftermath of the disaster.

"While much progress has been made since the devastation of Hurricane Rita two and a half years ago, the state understands that the recovery in this area is by no means complete," said Executive Director and Lake Charles native Paul Rainwater. "By reactivating the LRA's Rita Task Force and working closely with local leaders, including Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach, we will continue to assess roadblocks that may be hampering recovery and develop solutions to help this region of our state rebuild, repair and restore for future generations."

The new Rita Task Force includes recovery leaders from both Louisiana and Texas. The membership of the task force will include representatives of the following recovery sectors: economic development, workforce development, fisheries, coastal restoration, housing, education and non-profit organizations. Representatives of both the Louisiana and Texas state legislature will also serve as task force members.

"We support the reactivation of this task force, we think it's a good idea, and we believe it will help us focus on the final phases of recovery," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.

When Hurricane Rita made landfall along the Texas-Louisiana border on September 24, 2005, it was a Category 3 hurricane. Winds in excess of 120 miles per hour pushed a 20-foot storm surge onto land. The devastation it left behind made it the third most expensive natural disaster in United States history.

The Rita Task Force is expected meet for the first time in early June.

Meeting dates, agendas and minutes are posted on the LRA's Web site as they become available.

Appointments to the Rita Task Force are as follows:
  • Ernie Broussard - Executive Director of Planning for Cameron Parish
  • Dr. Paul Coreil - Vice Chancellor of LSU AgCenter
  • Joseph Deshotel - Texas State Representative
  • Tom Henning - LRA Board Member and Executive Vice President/General Counsel for Cameron Communications LLC, a telecommunications company based in Southwest Louisiana
  • Tina Horn - Parish Administrator for Cameron Parish
  • Chuck Kleckly - Louisiana State Representative
  • Dr. Andrea Lewis Miller - Chancellor of Sowela Technical Community College
  • David Richard - LRA Board Member and Executive Vice President of Stream Property Management Inc.
  • Randy Roach - Mayor of Lake Charles, LA
  • Ron Roberts - Mayor of Deridder, LA
  • Stephanie Rodrigue - Superintendent of Cameron Parish School Board
  • George Swift - President/CEO, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
  • Ben Taylor - Executive Director of Lake Charles Housing Authority
  • Catherine Thomas - United Way of Southwest Louisiana Disaster Recovery Specialist
  • Mark Viator - President of Partnership Strategies in Texas

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.

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