EBR Mayor reflects one year after the August 2016 flood

. - A year after the historic flood, the mayor-president of East Baton Rouge said the parish still has a way to go in terms of recovery.
"I would say we've come along 75 percent. Some people may see that as a high percentage. No doubt, we still have a lot of work to," said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
The flood of August 2016 forced tens of thousands of Baton Rouge families from their homes. Broome was among those to evacuate. She has still not moved home.
"My husband said to me, I don't think we're going anywhere, he said, because our neighborhood is flooding. And I couldn't believe it," Broome said.
At its peak, 2,389 families across the parish were living in manufactured housing units. Now, that is down to 1,719.
Reflecting on the past year, the mayor praised nonprofits, businesses, and everyday people to recover and rebuild.
"Our community worked, our community stepped up to the plate and showed that we are indeed a resilient and generous community," Broome said.
Noticeably missing from her praise was government. While she praised the governor's handling of the situation, she was rather critical of FEMA, saying they could have inspected homes faster. She also said the process of getting financial assistance to families could be improved.

"I believe that government always has room for improvement in terms of responding," Broome said. "One of the challenges is that when you deal with so many entities. You've got federal government, you've got the state government, and you've got the local government."
The parish currently is slated to get about $104 million from the federal government to help with the construction of flood prevention projects. The mayor's office is still developing a plan for how to spend those dollars, though the mayor mentioned that she hoped to have a proposal together by the end of the year.
Overall, she noted that she largely wants to use those dollars to improve drainage. That includes upgrading canals.
Another $7.5 million in hazard mitigation dollars left over from hurricanes Gustav and Ike will be used to elevate properties in the parish.
Despite the trials of the last year, the mayor pointed to one silver lining.
"You found a common denominator in the flood, that many people across geographical barriers, across gender, age, race barriers were impacted by the flood. It becomes a common denominator of people recovering together," she said.

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