FEMA grant brings relief to Livingston Parish - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

FEMA grant brings relief to Livingston Parish

(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
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(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) -

A grant from the federal government is finally bringing relief to Livingston Parish, three years after the fact. The money is for the clean-up of debris left from Hurricane Isaac in August 2012. A cruise down the Tickfaw River can be peaceful, picturesque.

The views are inviting. It is no doubt why so many people have decided to plant roots along its banks. But travel the winding waterway a bit farther and things are not so pretty.  Logs and litter make the Natalbany River nearly impassable.

"We had to come in with a small boat because you had to navigate around all of the tree tops that were sticking out," Obie Corley said.

Obie Corley with Aftermath Disaster Recovery out of Prosper, TX and a crew of eight men are working from sunrise to sunset to clear the clutter. They stack it on a barge and take it to a staging area. Trucks will haul the debris to a reduction site for recycling.

"In the last nine days, I believe we are right around 2,500 cubic yards," Corley said.

The men are looking for dead tree trunks, loose limbs, shrubs, trash, and anything that makes the water a hazard to residents and wildlife. Corley said the plan is to protect property too. 

"With all this debris out of the water, it will help with drainage, Corley said.

Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said getting the money to do the work has been an uphill battle. He credits Livingston Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director, Mark Harrell, with securing the $931,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for the project.

"Here we are, brand new in office, and we've got all these people complaining of the backup on the water, water so deep they have never seen it like that in all their lives being there," Ricks said.

Three years later the work has begun. While the funds won't cover the 96 miles of water that runs through Livingston Parish, disaster recovery workers said everyone who navigates south of the Tickfaw River will notice there is beauty beyond the open water.

"Once they finish the project, they should see it right away," Corley said.

Crews expect to finish their clean up by December 15, 2015.

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