Governor Bobby Jindal nixed implementing the state’s Road Home program for victims of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. “We absolutely will not recreate the kind of bureaucracy that was created after hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” he told The Advocate. A $23 billion Congressional bill containing $6.5 billion in community development block grants for Gulf Coast hurricane victims in Louisiana passed the House this week, and moves on to the Senate as early as today. Louisiana Recovery Authority chief Paul Rainwater is in Washington, shepherding the bill through Congress.
Instead of a centralized state bureaucracy to aid uninsured home owners with storm damage, the state will forward funds directly to parishes, so that local government can run their own programs to help residents. “We want locals to design smaller programs,” says Christina Stephens, spokeswoman for the LRA, “that will hopefully help people a lot more quickly than the Road Home program. That was one of the lessons learned from the storm.” The LRA will offer support to parish governments to help them streamline the process of putting rebuilding or elevation money in people’s hands. Stevens says, “The Parish Presidents we’ve already met with are energetic, they’re ready to rebuild, they know the people who had their homes damaged. It’s a good added incentive that they can see where the recovery needs to go.”
Meanwhile, today’s Times Picayune documents continued failures in the Road Home program even after Jindal attempted to streamline the process this spring.