Congressmen tour flood-damaged neighborhoods in south Louisiana

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - U.S. Representative Garret Graves, Charles Boustany, and a number of other congressmen hit the streets of South Louisiana Saturday, meeting with homeowners affected by the recent flood.

It is all too familiar for local congressmen, but those from out of town say the sights are overwhelming.

"This isn't just a flood, this is a tragedy," said Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer from Minnesota. "Coming down and getting a firsthand look on the ground is very powerful."

The trip came just one day after Governor John Bel Edwards and area mayors testified before Congress in Washington, D.C. It's part of an ongoing effort to get more funding for those on the road to recovery.

The intersection of Trammell Dr. and Goodwood Blvd. is just one of the places the group visited. The plan was to head to Livingston Parish and other areas hit hard by the storm. Graves said the goal is to get more people to see and experience the devastation firsthand.

"I don't think you can come here, see this, smell this, talk to some of the homeowners and business owners we've been talking to, and not leave here as a believer and an advocate understanding how tragic this is," Graves said.

"For members of Congress to come see this firsthand, to understand what we're going through and what it's going to take to jump start the full recovery, there's a role for the federal government here," Boustany added.

The conversations with homeowners ranged from their experiences with FEMA to the uncertainty about whether homes will have to be elevated. Len Sedlin has lived in the area since 1977. He said that plan is unthinkable.

"I cannot feature having to elevate my house because I have roughly five feet of water in it. It's not going to happen, so that's a tear down," Sedlin added.

Darryl Wright lives right down the street from Sedlin. He said while he is optimistic after speaking with elected leaders, it's time for action.

"They should just do what it is that you were elected by the people to do," Wright said. "Whether you be Republican, Democrat, Independent, or whatever you are, let's do what it is that we have to do in order to help people because we're all in the same boat."

While in town, the congressmen also met with the Governor and participated in a fly-over to get a better idea of the scope of the devastation.

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