LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - After hurricane Rita hit southwest Louisiana in 2005, recovery was a tremendous challenge.
Many saw the advantages of rebuilding safer, stronger, and smarter; proving their resilience then, and for the future.
Calcasieu Police Juror Dennis Scott is part of a national coastal workshop aimed at making coastal areas more resilient. Scott said those in Florida are ahead of many areas.
“When we learn about building things and how we should and the heights we should build at, you know, Florida, my friends over there are a lot better at it," Scott said. "They’ve been doing this since Hurricane Andrew in the early 90s in Florida. So, we all learn from each other.”
To maximize access to federal and state dollars, Scott says it’s important for communities to plan and prepare to be resilient rather than just react to disaster.
“There’s always strings with regulation attached to funding. Just like if and when we get the I-10 Bridge, they will have to have local money invested in that, as well as some private money and that’s what will draw down the federal money, but until you have some skin in the game, it’s just harder to play ball,” Scott said.
Scott's involvement at the national level includes trying to help communities strengthen their resiliency by learning to identify and manage risks and better recover after disaster.
“I want to make a change for the future and I don’t want to keep spending money to fix a problem that was created in the past. So, I don’t want our parish to be in the same place it was in twenty years because government did not make the hard decisions and pass ordinances that can really affect change,” Scott said.
On September 14, Scott and others from our area are heading to the national workshop in Alabama.
Scott has also been appointed to a national advisory board on resilient counties and a national EPA subcommittee dealing with environmental and public health issues.