FEMA center opens in LaPlace to mixed reviews

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Some residents still complaining of long lines, slow service, little money


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — The Federal Emergency Management Association Disaster Recovery Center has opened up in LaPlace and are ready to serve the people as long as necessary.

F.E.M.A Center Manager Don Quirin said he expects many agencies to be a part of the center, but the American Red Cross may not be one of them.

“At this time the only agencies we have in house are the F.E.M.A representative for housing or other F.E.M.A benefits and the SBA, or Small Business Administration,” Quirin said. “The SBA will help assist with an application for a low interest loan. There is also a representative here with the Corps of Engineers, if anyone needs F.E.M.A tarp.”

Quirin said they expect to have a person or some literature regarding the I.R.S, as well as many other agencies.

“The American Red Cross has given us a bit of a problem,” he said. “They have not given us a yes or a no as to whether or not they will be here. If it is going to be a no, we would like to have that. They will not be here today, they weren’t here yesterday and I don’t expect them to be with in the center. We plan to be here as long as necessary to serve the people.”

Quirin said the make the process go faster, people should make their application before coming to the center by phone or the Internet. He said the application process is what holds the line up for long periods of time.

“We know the lines are busy, but try odd hours,” he said. “They are available 24-hours a day.”

LaPlace resident Lucretia Tyson is just about fed up with the whole situation, while standing in line since 11:30 the night before the center opened.

“They have all this money from people donating,” she said. “But they still have all these people standing out here for days and days and they won’t give them a damn dime. It is ridiculous.”

Another frustrated member of the line, Corey Cavalier, a New Orleans resident forced to live in LaPlace, just wants accuracy.

“The whole confusion is the misconstruing part of whether or not the Red Cross is going to be here,” he said. “People are waiting here since early in the morning and if somebody could just give the correct information, then people like myself who have lost everything, could be out trying to hunt a job, instead of coming here to see if I could get some assistance and being mislead constantly.”

Quirin said he realizes the frustration of the people, but ask that everyone try and be patient.

“Please have patience,” he said. “I know they all have exercised great patience, but know that we will get to you as soon and as best we can.”