Local officials complain help from Washington is inadequate

Mayors testify that their cities are in dire straits

Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry and Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey and other officials recently testified before Congress and asked for more federal assistance more quickly to help the citizens who have been displaced.
They also asked that the elevation requirement be waived for all parish homes, but such a waiver has not yet been granted – and may not be, so homeowners should not be depending on that.
Mayor Landry pointed out that with about 90 percent of homes in Denham Springs flooded, many of those homeowners would not be able to afford the cost of elevation – which is estimated at around $100,000 – and if forced to do so in order to rebuild, many would likely have to walk away and default on their mortgages and lose all their equity in their home. That would negatively affect local banks and mortgage companies as well as the homeowner, and if enough homes and other buildings were abandoned, the city could be in danger of becoming a ghost town.
During the aftermath of the flood, it seemed like the rest of the country was not aware of or did not appreciate the extent of the flooding and the number of people who are now homeless and the dire straits that our parish towns and cities are now in.
The city finances which depend heavily on sales and property taxes, are also in a precarious position. At the same time that the city is having to spend enormous amounts of money on cleanup and other aid and city services, a number of businesses have been closed since August 13 and thus have not been selling anything and not collecting sales tax. Thousands of people have been thrown out of work either temporarily or permanently, and haven’t had enough income to spend anyway.
Abandoned homes depreciate the value of that property as well as adjacent properties, and the blight would likely make other homes in that neighborhood more difficult to sale, whether the other homes flooded or not.
The awareness of the parish’s plight has changed some as of late, but financial aid remains inadequate for citizens and the municipalities.