The website Truth In Politics has launched an expose on Governor John Bel Edwards’s failed flood recovery. They began by publishing a timeline of the events of the flood. Among the damning portions of the timeline was this portion:
The governor appeared before Congress and was accused of being “clueless” by U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, for not knowing the number of homeowners displaced by the storms.The first wave of federal money was available to distribute in February, but the state did not hire a contractor, IEM, to oversee the recovery efforts until March. Another month and allegations of corruption within the bidding process would pass until the state finally inked a deal with the original contractor.
Governor Edwards was woefully unprepared to handle the major disaster recovery effort needed by Louisiana. He wasted countless months, while Louisiana homes, schools and lives remain broken.
TIP then followed up this timeline with some profiles of those who have been flooded. One of the most damning indictments of Edwards’s flood recovery comes from a resident of North Baton Rouge, Leisha Clark. Clark had some issues with the state’s “Shelter At Home” program.
Her frustrations continued when the Shelter at Home Program, a government initiative designed to provide short-term, primitive repairs to allow homeowners to move back into their residence while they rebuild, provided her with sloppy electrical work, completed by an electrical apprentice, not a licensed electrician.
Meanwhile, Clark had other delays when dealing with the state.
She filled out the Restore Louisiana homeowner assistance online survey the first day it was available, April 10, nearly eight months after the severe storms in August. In May, Clark was informed she would be reimbursed $3,000 for her repairs in Phase III of the program. The survey was hailed as “the first step toward applying for recovery assistance,”1 but Clark questions why the process was delayed.
“I wouldn’t be in the debt that I am in had they [reimbursed money] months ago because I would have had the money to get stuff done.”
Clark is one of many flooded homeowners who faced an unfortunate ultimatum during the recovery process: do nothing to your home and let it go to waste, or be proactive and begin repairing your home, and potentially not be completely reimbursed.
Clark, who voted for JBE, is clear who she blames for the flood recovery.
For Clark, the whole experience made her feel the governor and his administration were too incompetent to handle the disaster relief efforts. From the Shelter at Home program to the length of time it took the state to find a contractor to administer the money, Clark feels a lot of time and money was wasted. Drive down any street in Clark’s neighborhood and it’s hard not to spot a FEMA trailer sitting outside at least a few homes. Clark thinks the trailers are a waste of money because they typically cost more than the houses in her neighborhood.
“I could have lost my house just because they’re playing games,” Clark said.
While the governor and his administration continue to play games, Louisiana residents are struggling to rebuild their lives. Nearly a year after historic flooding in south Louisiana, and over a year since the north Louisiana floods, the recovery process is still ongoing, much to the chagrin of all the victims. Rebuilding takes time, but the governor and his team have squandered far too much since August.
“I’m very disappointed because I thought [Edwards] cared more about the people.”
The articles provoked a response from Richard Carbo, who is JBE’s chief of staff.
— Richard Carbo (@richardacarbo) August 2, 2017
When people are still out of their homes a year after the flood, obviously the flood recovery isn’t going well. The floods are now JBE’s Katrina.