Historic Flooding Brings President Obama to Baton Rouge
President Obama arrived in Baton Rouge Tuesday, just over one week after south Louisiana was overwhelmed with historic flooding.
The President walked through a neighborhood in Zachary, Louisiana whose homes had been flooded. Like much of the twenty affected parishes, the streets in this neighborhood were lined with debris piled at the curb.
“I think anybody who can see just the streets, much less the inside of the homes here, people’s lives have been upended by this flood,” said President Obama in the driveway of a damaged home.
Alongside the President was Governor John Bel Edwards, Senators Bill Cassidy and David Vitter, Congressmen Garret Graves and Cedric Richmond, Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson.
Because a large number of the damaged households are not covered by flood insurance, many are turning towards the federal government for help covering the costs. So far, more than 115,000 residents have registered for FEMA assistance and $127 million has been distributed, which can help afford temporary housing or home repairs.
However, said Obama, “federal assistance alone is not going to be enough to make people’s lives whole again. So I’m asking every American to do what you can to help get families and local businesses back on their feet.”
During the visit, Governor Edwards asked the President for additional help, like reducing the state’s share of the damage costs. Right now, the federal government will cover seventy-five percent, while Louisiana will be responsible for the other twenty-five percent.
Edwards' request includes reducing the state's share to ten percent, which could require congressional involvement.
“As we fine tune exactly what’s needed, when we know, for example, how much permanent housing will have to be built, how much infrastructure has been damaged, that’s when Congress may be called upon to do some more,” said Obama.
The President also called on all Americans to help rebuild Louisiana.
“They 've got a lot of work to do and they shouldn’t have to do it alone,” he said.