La. governor meets with new FEMA administrator a year after hist - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

La. governor meets with new FEMA administrator a year after historic flood

Gov. John Bel Edwards and FEMA Administrator Brock Long (Source: WAFB) Gov. John Bel Edwards and FEMA Administrator Brock Long (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A year after floodwaters ravaged much of the Baton Rouge area, the governor met with the new FEMA administrator Tuesday for well over an hour.

The duo discussed everything from the 2016 flooding to the new pump issues in New Orleans. Mayor Mitch Landrieu was also there for the meeting.

“There's always room for improvements in what we do,” said Brock Long, who has headed FEMA for about two months.

During a press conference after the meeting, Long declined to evaluate how well his agency handled the flood last year. He was not in charge at the time. He also offered few specifics about how he wants to improve things going forward, aside from saying he would like to cut back on bureaucratic red tape. “FEMA under my leadership is going to constantly try to work to streamline recovery, to reduce the complexity as much as we can,” he said.

The governor noted that some things with the immediate response to the flood could have gone better, including setting up those Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs).

“We all knew it took too long to get the FEMA approved trailers in place,” said Edwards.

Edwards also said he wants to see changes to federal regulations dealing with transitional housing. He believes the state’s program, Shelter at Home, could have been better if the state was able to get things lined up before the storm.

“We would really like to have the ability to pre-contract so that we have contracts before the disaster ever happens. We think we can negotiate lower costs, and be leaning forward and deliver to the people in a quicker fashion,” said Edwards.

However, when it came to changes, Long offered no promises.

Edwards also noted that his state is monitoring the storm Harvey in the Gulf. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) will be gearing up the Crisis Action Team Wednesday as a precaution.

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