Residents find flood map sessions helpful

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 26, 2010

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – The central branch of the St. John the Baptist Parish public library system hosted the second of four sessions in the parish aimed at informing residents about the new digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps while simultaneously preparing them for the possibility of a tropical system making landfall this hurricane season.

Each session begins with a 10-minute presentation from the St. John Parish Department of Emergency Operations. During this portion of the proceedings, speakers accompanied by a slide show detailed risk factors within the parish as well as procedures to follow and resources available in the case of a natural disaster. Underlying the presentation was the importance for all residents of South Louisiana to have flood insurance.

Following the presentation, Michael Hunnicutt of FEMA introduced his crew and invited attendees to line up and meet in short one-on-one sessions with one of the seven FEMA specialists on hand.

Although the room was filled to near capacity, lines moved quickly as FEMA representative explained the new maps to those in attendance. Although they were happy to answer any questions and spend as much time as necessary with each individual, these face-to-face meeting generally took no more than five minutes.

After finishing his session, Belle Terre resident Joseph Warrick seemed pleased with the proceedings.

He said the specialists were “very helpful.” Warrick said he has not had problems with flooding in the past but came because he was “just interested in the updates.”

Terry Warrick described the entire process as very easy and helpful and said she thought all parish residents should try to attend one of the sessions.

“Just come and learn,” she said.

There are two more chances for residents of St. John to attend. The next event will be held Wednesday at the central library from 6 to 8 p.m. The following day, the event moves to the west bank, where it will be held at the Westbank Community Center in Edgard, also from 6 to 8 p.m.

Although the emergency preparedness seminar takes place at 6 p.m., FEMA representatives will stay on site until 8 p.m.

The maps can also be viewed at, and residents can call 866-751-3989 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday with any questions. Questions may also be directed to the St. John the Baptist Parish floodplain administrator at 985-651-5565.