Louisiana Senate committee to begin hearings tomorrow on disaster recovery efforts

State Sen. Mack “Bodi” White, R-Central, is calling a special meeting Thursday of the Louisiana Senate’s Homeland Security Committee to discuss the status of the flood recovery and try to get as much information as possible to flood victims.

Sen. Mack "Bodi" White is running for mayor.
Sen. Mack “Bodi” White (file photo)

White, the committee’s chairman, says he wants to bring multiple agencies together, including the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to “discuss the next steps on the road to recovery.”

“This is a little bit of fact finding,” he says. “But I’m really just trying to keep the lines of communication open.”

Like so many in the Central area that he represents, White was a victim of the flood. Though his personal home was spared, his office got several feet of water. Working with affected property owners over the past 10 days, White says there are still so many unanswered questions, particularly with respect to how property owners who didn’t have flood insurance will be able to rebuild.

One potential solution would be for the Small Business Administration to buy the mortgages of flooded properties. White says the idea has been floated in recent meetings and that it could help out in his area, where the vast majority of homes and businesses sustained some degree of flood damage.

“Banks are scared that too many people will throw the keys at them and walk away,” White says. “So maybe the SBA, if they loan you money, will buy your mortgage off and become the mortgage holder.”

White says the committee will discuss those types of issues tomorrow and at subsequent meetings he plans to schedule.

The committee meets at 9 a.m. at the John Hainkel Jr. Room in the State Capitol.

—Stephanie Riegel

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