Chamber explores emergency preparedness

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / September 17, 2000

LAPLACE – With a tropical storm already brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, chairman Quinn Landry of the River Parishes Council of the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the emergency operations directors of the River Parishes to the monthly general membership meeting.

Bertram Madere, director of civil defense for St. John the Baptist Parish;Tab Troxler, director of emergency preparedness for St. Charles Parish;and Gerald Falgoust, director of emergency preparedness for St. James Parish,each briefly addressed Chamber members at Bull’s Corner Restaurant.

Troxler related that Hurricane Floyd in North Carolina affected 57 of 64 counties. In addition, 56 lives were lost, 7,000 homes damaged beyondrepair and 3,000 businesses were closed.

“Emergency management is your business,” he stressed. “It’s so crucialthat government and business work together, or somebody else will.”He also noted that in the aftermath of the 1900 hurricane which struck Galveston, Texas, and killed 6,000 people, the city has yet to fully recover, a full century after the event.

Falgoust related plans his department has made to shelter special needs people, with a specially-equipped shelter at Lutcher High School, and other west bank provisions made at Nicholls State University and the Houma Civic Center.

“Early evacuation is a must for any storm category 3 and up,” Falgoust said.

Madere stressed that every business and every household needs to have their own evacuation plans. “If you see on TV it’s time to move out, it’stoo late,” he said.

Madere also passed around computer-generated photos of the Holiday Inn/LaPlace and the Interstate 55/U.S. Highway 51 interchange with 17feet of water, as can happen with a Category 3 storm.

Only the tops could be seen.

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