Lake Charles mayor says long-term recovery remains a big concern

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Lake Charles Mayor Nicholas Hunter visited Baton Rouge on Oct. 20 to talk about hurricane recovery. He said more funding is needed to help repair damages from the storms.

Lake Charles Mayor Nicholas Hunter spoke at the Baton Rouge Rotary Club. He said his city has faced disaster after disaster with storms like Hurricane Laura and Delta.

“August of 2020, the city of Lake Charles Southwest Louisiana was hit by Hurricane Laura. Hurricane Laura was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit in the U.S.,” said Hunter.

He said long-term recovery is a big concern, especially for those living below the poverty line and middle-class people.

“There are neighborhoods in Lake Charles a year later that look like Hurricane Laura just hit yesterday,” he said. “It shouldn’t be political to get people the help they need.”

He said the city of Lake Charles has worked with limited resources to help residents recover.

“We are pretty confident at this point that there will be little to no money for economic revitalization. Little to no money for infrastructure from CDBG-DR and probably not enough to cover our local PA match,” he said.

Hunter said there’s still a huge gap between where they are and where they need to be.

“The numbers are a punch to the gut. The unmet need assessment from the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development was three billion dollars. Typically, hope to get half of that, and we got a fifth,” he explained. “The fact that supplemental disaster aid was announced for Ida in Southeast Louisiana, 30 to 45 days. That’s the way it should be. It should not have taken us 400 days.”

Although some help may still be on the way, Hunter said they’ll have to get creative.

“There’s not a scenario in which Lake Charles won’t recover. We will recover and we will bounce back,” said Hunter.

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