Laque gives FEMA a ‘coonass earful’ in levee-lobby effort
Staff Report -
Oct 12, 2006
For a year now. Albert Laque has been pleading with higher-ups to protect St. Charles Parish with levees on both the east and west banks of the Mississippi.
And in a kick-out-the-stops message to the feds just days ago, the popular parish president laid it on the line:
“If we get hit by a hurricane, it affects not just us ‘coonasses’ but a lot of people,” he reasoned.
“We have a nuclear power plant and some of the biggest oil refineries in the country to think about.”
In other words, if a hurricane stymies oil production or uncorks a nuke plant, the entire U.S. economy - and the welfare of 275 million citizens in all 50 states - could be at risk.
“We’re doing the best we can with the little $700,000 we’ve set aside for levees in our local budget,” Laque said.
On the heels of the meeting, he feels confident that the Army Corps of Engineers - who oversee all levee construction - is ready to speed up construction on the west bank.
It won’t come a minute too soon for residents living from Magnolia Ridge to Willowridge subdivisions - they have no protection against floods.
Laque spoke directly to Brigadier General Robert Crear and Colonel Kernel Wagner of the Corps.
“The General and the Colonel are changing their way of business, and they can help us move things along a lot faster,” says Laque.
“But we do also need federal money. They’re going to help us get the money.”
The Corps has already committed $39 million to raise the east bank levee from 10 to 13 feet. But there’s been no commitment yet on the west bank.
“They know that we can’t afford to build the levees that the Corps requires with local money,” Laque says.
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