Sunday, 02 September 2012 18:48

Hurricane Isaac recovery updates: Unemployment, FEMA housing, gas stations, Jindal reports

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LouisianaGovernor Bobby Jindal held a Unified Command Group meeting today and outlined the state’s response to Isaac, however, these numbers below do change throughout the day. Other news: Unemployment aide, gas stations openings, FEMA housing and more


• To assist St. Tammany officials with their evacuation as a result of flooding concerns with Lock 2 on the Pearl River Diversion Canal, the Louisiana National Guard deployed 130 Guardsmen, 12 high-water vehicles, 15 Humvees, six flat bottom boats, 15 Zodiac boats and two bridge erection boats.

• The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) had 29 agents going door-to-door to spread the word about the evacuation in the area. LDWF deployed 47 agents with 47 vessels and 47 trucks. The Department of Health and Hospitals deployed three ambulances to St. Tammany Parish to transport medically fragile evacuees. Louisiana State Police provided support to the parish to assist with evacuations and escorts as needed.

• Louisiana State Police is coordinating escorts for pumps from two areas in Texas (Fort Worth and San Antonio) to help with the Pearl Diversion Flood Threat. The Louisiana State Police also embedded a command team with St. Tammany Parish officials.

• To assist St. James Parish, DOTD is moving ten coaches to St. James to pre-stage for potential evacuations related to flood conditions, if needed.

• In St. James Parish, there are 146 National Guard soldiers, five high water vehicles, and eight Humvees for Search and Rescue operations. The Guard is also assisting with sandbagging operations in St. James Parish. There are 18 agents and boats from Wildlife and Fisheries to assist St. James Parish.

• CPRA has an eight inch pump to dewater the area in St. James Parish and provide resiliency for an Entergy substation. A CPRA flood assessment team is also on hand to further inspect dewatering capabilities.

• In Livingston Parish, LDWF is providing three agents with three boats and three trucks to assist with evacuations, search and rescue missions, and delivering medicine and food.

• In Jefferson Parish, LDWF has two agents and one vessel on patrol day and night in Grand Isle.

• To date, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has rescued 1,667 people and 161 pets.


Louisiana National Guard:

• The Louisiana National Guard has 6,624 Soldiers and Airmen on duty in support of the response to Isaac. The Guard has assisted in the rescue and/or evacuation of 5,227 citizens throughout the state.

• The Guard is currently supporting 27 open POD sites:
o Iberville – 1
o Lafourche - 1
o Jefferson - 4
o St. James - 4
o St. John - 4
o Orleans - 6
o Plaquemines - 1
o St. Bernard - 2
o St .Tammany – 3
o Terrebonne - 1

• In terms of POD operations, the National Guard reports that 1,116,492 meals, 1,777,398 bottles of water, 408,860 bags of ice and 21,275 tarps have been distributed. On average, the National Guard reports that their average burn rate per day is 558,246 meals, 888,699 bottles of water, 204,430 bags of ice and 10,638 tarps.

• The National Guard has distributed 93 generators.

Ascension Parish
• In Ascension Parish, a Guard 20-man engineer team has emplaced 200 ft. of HESCO Bastion barrier.

• The Guard is assisting the Louisiana State Police with 32 Guardsmen for security operations at the Jewella shelter.

• In Jefferson Parish, the Guard is conducting security operations in support of the Jefferson Parish Sherriff’s Office at POD sites.

• In Livingston Parish, the Guard has staged an 8-man team with four high-water vehicles for Search and Rescue operations as needed.

• The Guard is also conducting an Engineer route clearance mission in Livingston Parish.

Orleans Parish
• In Orleans Parish, the Guard is providing security for six shelters and 270 Guardsmen to assist NOPD with security operations.

• The Guard has supported Orleans Parish in clearing approximately 9.6 miles of debris.

Plaquemines Parish
• In Plaquemines Parish, the Guard is continuing security operations in support of the Plaquemines Sherriff’s Office with 30 Guardsmen. Additionally, there are 20 deputies to assist with security.

St. Bernard
• In St. Bernard Parish, the Guard is conducting security operations in support of local authorities.

St. James
• In St. James Parish, the Guard is continuing security operations in support of local law enforcement.

• In Tangipahoa Parish, the Guard is conducting Security Operations.


• As of this morning, there were an estimated 3,561 people registered in shelters across the state. The population – as of this morning – at all state-run shelters (both CTN and MSN) was 3,014 evacuees.

• There are 1,180 evacuees at the Alexandria mega-shelter (reduction of 208), 1,806 evacuees at the Jewella shelter in Shreveport, 20 medical special needs evacuees at the LSU Field House and 4 at the Alexandria medical special needs shelter. There are also 4 evacuees at the Bossier City Civic Center MSN and the Southeastern MSN shelter is on standby.

• There are an estimated 471 evacuees located at other parish run, faith-based and Red Cross shelters around the state. This is a reduction of almost 1,515 evacuees since yesterday as some shelters are closing and evacuees begin to return home when possible.

• Of those, 7 are at parish-run shelters in impacted areas, 131 are at faith-based shelters, and 333 are located at Red Cross shelters around the state. The only parish-run shelter with a census is the St. Bernard Recreation Center with 7 evacuees.

• The Federal Special Needs Shelter at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans has 76 evacuees.

• DCFS is working to have a cookout for evacuees for Labor Day tomorrow including hamburgers being cooked by the Cattlemen’s Association as well as Blue Bell Ice Cream.

• It is expected that evacuees from Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes will begin returning home this afternoon.

• DCFS added four additional parishes yesterday to the request to the federal government to approve DSNAP. The requested parishes are Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans. There have been a total of 93,927 pre-applications for DSNAP. Of these, 13,365 were submitted within the last 24 hours.

• The Louisiana Workforce Commission reports that approximately 32,000 hot meals were served yesterday.

• Since Monday, United Way 211 has received 31,846 calls.

Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC):
• LWC sent a strike team to the Alexandria mega shelter to help people file disaster unemployment claims. LWC also sent their mobile unit to the Jewella shelter in Shreveport to help people file disaster unemployment claims.

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority:
• Plaquemines Parish reports a 4-foot drop in water levels in the Braithwaite-Scarsdale area since the original breach was made on Thursday. Yesterday, the parish created two additional breaches to increase the drainage rate. While this breach is currently helping to dewater this flooded area, it will need to be repaired to protect the area in the case of a future storm. The CPRA is working closely with Plaquemines Parish and the National Guard to establish a staging area for air-dropped sandbags to help stabilize the breach when appropriate.

• CPRA has provided a total of 35 pumps to the parishes of Plaquemines, St. Charles, Lafourche, St. James, Jefferson and St. Tammany.

• Seven of the 29 pumps were deployed to Lafitte. It is anticipated the remaining two pumps will be actively pumping today. In addition to the pumps, CPRA provided a fuel barge to the parish that arrived last night and is being utilized to maneuver and fuel the existing pumps. Jefferson Parish will be evaluating the need for any additional pumps later today.

• Through a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the Corps and CPRA, six 8-inch pumps have been made available to Slidell. St. Tammany parish officials are scheduled to provide trucks to pick up the pumps this morning.

• Lafourche Parish is scheduled to pick up today the six pumps made available to them through a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between CPRA and the Corps.

• St. James Parish has provided an alternate delivery site, allowing the CPRA to deliver an 8-inch pump to dewater a substation.

• In St. Tammany Parish, the Army Corps of Engineers reports that while there is scouring at Lock 2 on the Pearl River Diversion Canal, the situation is stabilizing.

• There have been reports of heavy sheening at Pass-a-Loutre which could be from the oil spill, but CPRA is doing an assessment.

Department of Transportation and Development:
• DOTD has 596 staff and 321 trucks and equipment deployed assisting with hurricane response efforts.

• To date, DOTD crews have picked up 1,391 cubic yards of debris, and repaired 117 traffic signals across the affected areas. DOTD has provided 1,144 yards of sand; 6,850 sandbags and 750 linear feet of HESCO baskets in support of the response effort.

• Additionally, DOTD has transported more than 424 cubic yards of to assist in flood protection efforts and coordinated the mobilization of 276 coaches, 24 para-transit and handicap accessibly vehicles, 68 school buses and over a dozen pet transport vehicles to assist in the evacuation of people from the path of Hurricane Isaac and the subsequent area flooding.

• DOTD crews began repairs on La.1 in Fourchon where the roadway was significantly damaged by Hurricane Isaac. DOTD has coordinated efforts with Entergy and emergency personnel so any restriction in traffic flow will be adjusted to ensure access for responding personnel. DOTD anticipates having emergency repairs completed early next weekend to reopen two lanes to traffic.

• DOTD has begun moving evacuees back to their home parishes of Jefferson and St. Bernard.

• DOTD continues to provide assistance to affected parishes:
o Hauled 850 sandbags to the Pontchartrain Levee District in Convent, La
o Hauled 10 barrier gates to the Houma
o Hauled 100 "NO SHOULDER" signs to Port Fourchon 
o Assisted hauling sand to West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office Sand Staging Area
o Hauling 9 variable message signs to St. Tammany parish to assist motorist diverting flood waters.

• All I-10 lanes from New Orleans to Baton Rouge are open.

Department of Health & Hospitals:
• Fourteen (14) nursing homes housing 1,632 residents across the state are currently operating on generator power. Since yesterday morning, there have been 8 net fewer nursing homes and 888 fewer residents residing in homes operating on generator power. Nine (9) nursing homes returned to normal power operations and one new nursing home in Reserve was confirmed to be running on generator power.

• Eight (8) hospitals housing 98 patients across the state are currently operating on generator power. Since yesterday morning, four net fewer hospitals are relying on Generator power, impacting 366 fewer net patients. Over the past 24 hours, five hospitals have gained normal power operations.

• There are 226 ambulances in the state, as follows:
o 91 State ambulances
o 4 Contracted Support ambulances
o 111 Federal ambulances
o 20 Para transit vehicles

• DHH is working to close the Alexandria and Bossier MSN shelters today. Residents will be moved closer to home.

• DHH is working with the federal government, local officials and LSU to analyze the mosquito population.

• There are currently 154 water systems on a boil advisory.

Division of Administration:
• To date, state agencies have spent $80.1 million and parishes have spent $10.1 million.

• The state has submitted $66 million to FEMA for reimbursement.

• LDAF is coordinating with the National Guard to have two blackhawks drop hay to feed cattle in Plaquemines Parish. 
• LDAF has delivered 364,385 gallons of fuel.

Public Service Commission (PSC):
• The PSC reports that there are 243,725 outages, or 12 percent of the state.

Higher Education:
• The Board of Regents reports that all institutions will be open on Tuesday (9/4).

Department of Natural Resources:
• There are 131 platforms evacuated offshore, which is down from 219 this morning.

Unemployment insurance
The Louisiana Workforce Commission sent teams of unemployment insurance specialists to state evacuation shelters in Alexandria and Shreveport Sunday to help victims of Hurricane Isaac apply for disaster unemployment assistance.
An LWC strike team set up a network of computers at the state Megashelter on Highway 71 in Alexandria and began assisting evacuees apply online for disaster unemployment assistance. The agency also sent a mobile unit, a customized RV fitted with computers and Internet access, to the state evacuation shelter on Jewella Avenue in Shreveport, where LWC employees continue to provide evacuees with the same services and support. As of Sunday morning, there were 1,806 evacuees at the Shreveport shelter and another 1,180 at the Alexandria Megashelter.
"Deploying our teams to those two shelters was an effective way to reach a lot of people quickly with our services and support," LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink said. "Our dedicated agency employees worked through the night Saturday to deploy from Baton Rouge, set up and provide service by Sunday afternoon."
The teams will remain at the shelters as long as the shelter managers want them on site.
"We will continue to take every step we can to help workers endure the challenging days and weeks ahead," Eysink said. "We're equally committed to helping employers return to business as usual as quickly as possible."
Nine Louisiana parishes have been approved for disaster unemployment assistance: Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany. Residents in those parishes who remain out of work through Sept. 8 as a direct result of Hurricane Isaac will begin to receive benefits. They can reapply weekly for the special disaster assistance benefits, while they remain unemployed as a result of Isaac.
Citizens can apply for disaster unemployment assistance online 24 hours a day at Anyone without Internet access or who has trouble filing their claim can contact the LWC call center at 1-866-783-5567.
All LWC offices are scheduled to reopen Tuesday morning, except those in St. John the Baptist Parish. LWC's Business and Career Solutions Centers in Metairie and Gretna remained without power Sunday and decisions on when they'd reopen will be made later. The LWC office in St. Tammany Parish was without Internet service Sunday but was expected to be up and operational Tuesday.

FEMA Housing inspectors
Housing inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are assisting eligible Hurricane Isaac survivors get connected with potential assistance by visiting neighborhoods and checking for damage.
More than 400 inspections have taken place in the days following the storm, and more are scheduled as survivors report their uninsured or underinsured losses to FEMA.
"The housing inspections are an essential part of the recovery process for survivors who need to make their homes livable again or have serious personal property loss," said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Hall. "Homeowners and renters can help us help them by first registering and then making sure they coordinate with the inspectors for the visits."
Survivors can register online at or via smartphone at Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
The process begins when applicants living in parishes designated for disaster assistance register and report uninsured or underinsured damage to their homes, vehicles or other personal property. An inspector will then contact the applicant and schedule an appointment to visit the home. 
To speed the inspection process, applicants should:
• Ensure their home or mailbox number is clearly visible from the road.
• Keep their appointment or notify the inspector if a postponement is necessary.
• Authorize another adult to act as their agent and be present on their behalf during the inspection if they have evacuated and cannot return for the inspection.
• Be reachable, informing neighbors where they can be contacted if they are not staying in the home.
• Tell the inspector about other property losses or disaster-related needs such as transportation, medical or dental care, tools needed for a trade and educational materials so inspectors can relay the information to FEMA. Inspectors try a minimum of three times to contact the applicant, calling at different times on different days. If inspectors cannot reach an applicant, they will post a letter at the applicant's dwelling with a phone number the applicant should call to schedule an appointment and/or have the inspection re-issued.
When FEMA inspectors arrive at a home, they will display official photo identification. If the photo identification is not displayed, it is important to ask to see it. This helps prevent scam artists from taking advantage of the situation.
The damage inspection generally lasts 20-45 minutes. As part of the inspection process, homeowners are asked to show proof of ownership, a tax bill, a deed, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy with the property's address. Renters must show proof of occupancy, a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or another document confirming the location was their primary residence at the time of the disaster. Both homeowners and renters must also have a valid driver's license or other photo identification.
Inspectors document damage but do not determine the applicant's eligibility. They check for damage to the structure and building systems, to major appliances and septic systems and wells, and enter information into an electronic device that sends the information to FEMA. This speeds up the process of providing assistance.
A U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loss verifier may also schedule an appointment with applicants who have completed an SBA loan application. Like FEMA inspectors, SBA loss verifiers and insurance adjusters are required to carry identification. Residents should ask to see a photo ID if any inspector comes to their home.
Residents should not be concerned if an inspector is seen in their neighborhood but does not visit every home. They are following schedules and can only visit houses on that day's list.
Gas stations
The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Stephen Chustz said today that, as electrical power is restored to areas impacted by Hurricane Isaac and fuel stations begin getting the power they need to pump gasoline, the DNR-led State Fuel Team is providing information on stations that have reported they are open and providing fuel in the parishes with the most widespread power outages.

In areas with the most widespread power outages, access to fuel can be a significant issue, even when gasoline and diesel supplies are ample, if fueling stations lack electricity to power the pumps.

"We have been working over the past several days with refineries and transporters and marketers of fuel throughout the state to ensure an ample supply of fuel would be available to support the recovery effort," Chustz said. "Now, we are turning our efforts to providing as much information as possible to help our people find the fuel they need."

DNR Fuel Team staff have been reaching out to fuel stations in the areas impacted by Hurricane Isaac through daily automated calls and direct calls from staff to stations, with emphasis on the parishes where the Louisiana Public Service Commission reports outages of 40 percent or greater as of Sunday, Sept. 2.

Station operators can also self-report through the DNR site when their stations are open for business, or e-mail the Fuel Team at [email protected]

The stations listed in the parishes of Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist are those that have confirmed with the Fuel Team that they are open for business and selling gasoline and/or diesel.

Other stations that have not responded to contacts from the Fuel Team may also be open and providing fuel in these areas and those operators are asked to contact DNR at [email protected] so that their stations may be included in the list for the public.
Click here for the list of stations:

DOTD has cleared debris  from all state roadways

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has cleared debris from all state roadways. The remaining closures are related to down power lines, flood waters and flood protection efforts.
DOTD crews continue to work diligently to clear and reopen roadways as flood waters subside along Interstate 10 and some of its interchanges, while monitoring areas still affected by flood waters.
"We will continue to prioritize our storm response efforts with all available resources including personnel, equipment and maintenance," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. "Our crews are working with the highest sense of urgency to assist all affected parishes."
DOTD has 596 staff and 321 trucks and equipment deployed assisting with hurricane response efforts. More than 133 miles have been cleared. Any roadways that are not open are closed due to flood protection efforts, downed power lines or water on the roadway. To date, DOTD crews have picked up 1,391 cubic yards of debris and repaired 117 traffic signals across the affected areas.
To date, DOTD has provided 1,144 yards of sand; 6,850 sandbags and 750 linear feet of Hesco baskets in support of the parishes recovering from Hurricane Isaac flooding. Additionally, DOTD has transported more than 424 cubic yards of sand to assist in flood protection efforts and coordinated the mobilization of 276 coaches, 24 para-transit and handicap accessible vehicles, 68 school buses and over a dozen pet transport vehicles to assist in the evacuation of people from the path of Hurricane Isaac and the subsequent flooding.
Within 6 hours of daybreak and hurricane winds subsiding, DOTD opened all state routes in East Baton Rouge Parish, East Feliciana Parish and Pointe Coupee Parish.
DOTD is working in conjunction with law enforcement and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to issue information to the public regarding road closures and alternate routes. Citizens can access this information on real-time traffic and road conditions by using the 511 Traveler Information System simply by visiting or by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region about which they are seeking information. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).
DOTD urges motorists to use extra caution when traveling on roadways during hazardous weather conditions and stay off the roads whenever possible. Motorists should drive slowly and carefully, and avoid driving while distracted. Always allow for extra driving time, reduce speeds when visibility is low, and make sure there is plenty of room between vehicles. As always, DOTD reminds motorists to buckle up and refrain from drinking and driving.
Motorists can also obtain information regarding road closures by contacting DOTD's Customer Service Center at 1-877-4LA-DOTD (1-877-452-3683). The center is typically open from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, but has extended its hours during the storm.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 890 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state's aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.




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