WDSU: Senator announces $4M in hurricane recovery grants
WASHINGTON - Sen. Mary Landrieu announced Sunday $4 million in disaster-related grant awards throughout southern Louisiana.
"Hurricane Isaac showed us just how underfunded and neglected some areas of the state are in terms of flood protection," Landrieu said. "These funds are greatly welcomed, especially in light of all we continue to learn from Isaac. I am, as always, committed to working on continued recovery from this storm and for improved flood protection throughout Louisiana."
Officials said the grants, which are intended to support a community's long-term recovery, spur job creation, leverage private investment and promote disaster resiliency, are administered through the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Officials said the grant provides $1.8 million to the St. Mary Levee and Terrebonne Levee Foundations for the Bayou Chene Flood Control Infrastructure Improvement Plan, which will fund the design and engineering of improved flood control in south central Louisiana.
In addition, the project also supports business expansion in the region's oil and gas, shipbuilding, and seafood industries. It also mitigates economic distress caused by frequent flooding in the region, and will lead to increased resiliency and business opportunities in the region.
The grant also provides $1 million to Southern University for a Center for Business Opportunities and Disaster Recovery, which will provide business incubation space, entrepreneurial training and outreach services to small businesses throughout the region.
"The Southern University System Foundation, Southern University at Baton Rouge, and the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center are excited to receive a $1 million grant from the Economic Development Administration," Southern University Vice President for Advancement Dr. Ernie Troy Hughes said. "The grant will fund the Southern University Center for Business Opportunity, which will house a small business incubator. The center will allow the University the opportunity minimize economic dislocations resulting from a major disaster by promoting job creation, supporting economic diversification for small business owners, help entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and make a positive impact on the community."
Officials said the grant also provides $1 million to the Baton Rouge Port Commission for a rail-line improvement near Port Allen. The project will rebuild the subgrade of a rail line that connects to Port Allen's Inland Rivers Marine Terminal, in addition to increasing the resiliency of the line and ensure that it remains open during flooding events, allowing area industries to maintain supply lines and the shipment of goods.
The grant also provides $360,000 to the New Orleans BioInnovation Center for the expansion of industries that rebuild wetlands, implement water management strategies, promote clean technologies, and perform other risk mitigation activities in southeastern Louisiana.
"This funding will allow us to focus on a key growth area for the Greater New Orleans community," the president of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, Aaron Miscenich Miscenich, said. "We believe this partnership with GNO, Inc. and the EDA expands the existing programming of the BioInnovation Center and increases the effectiveness of our programming for all of our clients."
Officials said the project will assist communities in mitigating the effects of disasters, such as Hurricane Isaac, and recovering and becoming more resilient by implementing workforce development partnerships, business development services, technology transfer activities and regional marketing and branding activities.
"GNO, Inc. is thrilled to receive this grant in conjunction with the New Orleans BioInnovation Center," said the president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Development Fund, Michael Hecht. "This funding will allow us to create new jobs in the emerging environmental economy and position Louisiana as a hub for companies with the expertise to manage environmental issues related to energy, waste and water."