State Law Makers Get First Hand Look At Hurricane Rita

March 30, 2006
Reported by Vince Atkinson

Louisiana state law makers started their regular legislative session just this past Monday, but Thursday a large group of state leaders took time off to visit Southwest Louisiana, including Governor Kathleen Blanco. The Governor, along with some 35 state legislators gathered at L'Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles. Local city and parish leaders gave a virtual tour of the hurricane damage caused by Rita.

Governor Kathleen Blanco received a warm welcome in Lake Charles Thursday night. She came to Southwest Louisiana with one purpose in mind. Blanco said, "To make sure that legislators get to see first hand the full devastation that happened in Louisiana, including the Rita devastation." That is a message that State Senator Willie Mount is echoing. Mount said, "That Rita was a huge catastrophic storm, which you and I certainly know, but we want folks to see it first hand."

In order to help drive the point home, local parish and city leaders set up a slide show, letting the out of town guest see what things looked like before and after Rita slammed the coast. Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said, "You can't really get a true picture or true feeling of what's happened unless you go down and experience it and see it for yourself."

The visiting state law makers will be seeing the destruction first hand. Friday morning they are boarding buses for a tour of destruction that Rita left in her wake. Blanco said, "A lot of people in north Louisiana have not understood fully what's happened in coastal Louisiana. Now they can go home and describe it in great detail and tell them of the magnitude of troubles that have occurred all along coastal Louisiana."

In addition to making sure all state leaders understand the full magnitude of the damage caused by Hurricane Rita, Governor Blanco says she is continuing to lobby in Washington for an additional 4.2 billion dollars in hurricane relief.