FEMA hosts Hahnville meeting for recovery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

By Caleb Frey

Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – In one of a series of meetings taking place in many hurricane affected Louisiana areas, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) in conjunction with FEMA hosted a Governmental Workshop for Recovery Planning Monday in the Landry High School Gym.

Representatives from the local, state and federal levels met together to coordinate recovery efforts throughout St. Charles Parish.

&#8220This is not only disaster recovery, but future planning,” Adam Knapp, Director of Operations for the Louisiana Recovery Authority, said. &#8220The Recovery Authority is set up by the Federal Government to oversee the recovery process and pull all the levels from local to federal into one coherent mechanism.”

The purpose of the meeting is to get local parish leaders together with state and FEMA representatives to facilitate the discussions concerning recovery efforts according to Knapp.

&#8220This is the first step,” Knapp said. &#8220This meeting is for public officials, a second set of meetings in January and February will be open to the public.”

Heidi Recksiek, Training and Technical assistance coordinator for the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was one of the FEMA appointed representatives in attendance.

&#8220The goal for tonight’s meeting is we want to know what the local officials know because they’re the ones on the ground during these storms,” Recksiek said. &#8220In the short term we’re trying to hurdle some of the barriers that come with recovery efforts. For the Long term we want to know what things people want to save about their town. What treasures they want to keep.”

Barriers that Reeksiek spoke of that were in discussion amongst officials were the lengthy process of obtaining permits, the obstacles of bureaucracy in obtaining funds as well as the lack of store employees to keep businesses open so people can have a sense of normalcy.

Leonard Marietta, Long term Community Recovery FEMA Contractor was very pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

&#8220The fact that these people were just thrown together for this meeting in the last two weeks is a testament to the dedication of all involved in this effort from local to state,” Marietta said.