One year later: Livingston Parish

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - One year after the August flood a lot of people are still trying to find their way home. Although there has been progress, it can be a tough topic to discuss.
Parish President Layton Ricks said it is hard to forget how Livingston Parish looked.

"My initial thought was, my God, how much water can fall," Ricks said.

Ricks, like an estimated 85 percent of the parish, experienced mother nature's wrath first hand. Ricks said he had to evacuate and go to work.

"We got calls after calls to move people get people from areas that we've never had to deal with," Ricks said.

The areas folks thought would never flood, like a new shopping center at Juban Crossing, I-12, thousands of homes, all under water. Ricks said when the water receded and he ventured out to start talking to people, it really hit him.

"I think the saddest, most emotional thing in the world is to talk to that 78, 83-year-old that's lost everything and he doesn't have flood insurance and he no real big savings to rebuild and you know he can't go to work tomorrow," Ricks said.

Ricks said a lot of the smaller businesses are in the same boat. They closed for good. It hurts to see them go, but Ricks said, the tax base in the parish is on solid footing. A need for building materials, new cars, and home furnishings is keeping the economy afloat. Ricks said it is clear the people who live there are invested.

"We are going to come back probably bigger and better than ever. But it's taking some time," Ricks said.

Livingston Parish was recently awarded $68 million in hazard mitigation gr ant money. Ricks said the money would go toward flood-related projects.

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