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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2009
Contact: Christina Stephens, christina.stephens@la.gov

State of Louisiana Approves $12.1 Million for Drainage Projects in Jefferson Parish

BATON ROUGE, La. - The state of Louisiana has approved $12.1 million for repairs and improvements to four drainage facilities in Jefferson Parish, allowing parish officials to access federal Community Development Block Grant funds needed to implement the projects.

The funding comes from the Long Term Community Recovery Program, a $700 million pool of federal disaster-recovery money set aside by the Louisiana Recovery Authority and Office of Community Development to help local governments rebuild and implement long-term recovery plans.

The disaster recovery money will fund the following projects:

  • $6.2 million for drainage improvements at St. Peter's Ditch in Metairie;
  • $3.4 million for drainage improvements at Gulizo Canal in Marrero;
  • $2 million for drainage improvements at California Avenue and Canal 2 in Metairie;
  • $538,620 for drainage improvements in Jean Lafitte.

LRA Executive Director Paul Rainwater said, "These drainage projects are vital to the recovery and resilience of Jefferson Parish. Improving our drainage systems will help mitigate against the kind of substantial damage that occurred when Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed south Louisiana's ill-equipped stormwater control facilities. I applaud Parish President Aaron Broussard's foresight in dedicating disaster recovery funds to these important projects."

Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard said, "Flooding remains one of the top concerns of our citizens and one of our biggest challenges. With the assistance of the Louisiana Recovery Authority and the Community Development Block Grant Program, we can make dramatic drainage improvements in Jefferson Parish. These four projects are another example of LRA's continued support in protecting our citizens against flooding,"

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Jefferson Parish was declared a slum/blighted area because of its seriously deteriorating, flood-damaged residences, commercial buildings and infrastructure. These drainage projects will help prevent or reduce similar effects from heavy rainfall or flood events in the future.

At St. Peter's Ditch in Metairie, $6.2 million in CDBG funding will be used to replace existing, undersized conveyance units with six reinforced concrete box culverts, in addition to other improvements to the system. This project will provide flood protection necessary to ensure that businesses in the highly trafficked Clearview shopping area remain viable.

At the Gulizo Canal in Marrero, $3.4 million in CDBG funding will be used to install a concrete-lined canal bottom and steel sheet piling that will widen the canal, stabilize the banks and increase runoff capacity during heavy rainfall and flood events.

At the California Avenue and Canal 2 intersection in Metairie, $2 million in CDBG funding will replace two reinforced concrete arched pipes with three box culverts, bringing this canal crossing up to 10-year storm standards. The street at the intersection also will be replaced.

At Jean Lafitte, $538,620 in CDBG funding will be used to convert semi-open ditches into a subsurface drainage system through the installation of culverts, catch basins, street cuts, driveway replacements and utility adjustments along Gloria Drive, Canal Street and Oak Street. This sub-surface system will reduce future flooding by speeding water removal through the existing forced drainage system.

The state's LTCR program supports implementation of local governments' long-term recovery plans in the most heavily impacted communities in the state. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved LRA's request to reallocate $500 million in CDBG dollars to the program, bringing to $700 million the total amount of long-term recovery funding available to the parishes. Funds are distributed among the parishes through the LRA/Office of Community Development according to a formula based on estimated housing and infrastructure damages inflicted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In total, the LRA has allocated $50,120,337 of CDBG funding to Jefferson Parish for LTCR projects.

Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the coordinating and planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the LRA works closely with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and partners with state and federal agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.

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