La. Governor and staff remember August flood anniversary with service project

Updated: Aug. 12, 2017 at 10:22 PM CDT
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Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One year after floodwaters first began to rise in the Baton Rouge area, state leaders marked the anniversary with a day of service.

Many, including the governor, made quick work painting the walls of the homes of 83-year-old Lucille Huggins.

"That corner is a special corner now, and somewhere I'm going to put his initial down to remember he did that corner," Huggins said, motioning to a corner where the governor had painted.

During the storm, Huggins got three feet of water in her park forest home. During her 20 years living there, it had never flooded before.

Gov. John Bel Edwards admitted that statewide, recovery is by no means going as quickly as he would like.

"It does take a long time, it takes too long. Unfortunately, you have to navigate a federal bureaucracy that is full of hoops you have to go through and hurdles you have to go over," he said.

Flood recovery efforts across the capital region are still very much a work in progress. Thousands of homes are still in need of repair.

Some community groups have been working around the clock since August, including Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge.

"We have a long list of needy people. We'll be doing this for a while," said Jimmy Walters, project director for Rebuilding Together

On Saturday, volunteers from the Department of Children and Family Services painted doors for a victim of the blood in tandem with Rebuilding Together.

Many impacted by the flood are still seeking financial help through the state's Restore Louisiana program. As of Saturday, 463 households have received awards totaling a combined $11 million.

This, however, is only a small portion of the $1.3 billion in federal dollars currently earmarked for homeowners. The governor's office says they will be ramping up the distribution of these funds in coming days and weeks.

Meanwhile, for Huggins, the countdown is now on. She hopes to be able to move back in for the first time since the flood sometime in the next few weeks.

"It's a house now, but when I put the key in the door and walk in, it's going to be a home," Huggins said.

As of Saturday, more than 40,000 people have completed the Restore Louisiana survey, which is the first step to getting access to some of those additional federal dollars to help rebuild.

The governor's office estimates there are thousands who not have completed the survey that could be eligible for assistance right now. Find the survey here.

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