Lake Charles mayor speaks at the State Capitol about hurricane recovery

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:32 PM CDT
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Baton Rouge, LA (KPLC) - Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter spoke about hurricane recovery at the State Capitol Monday, as storm-fatigued Southwest Louisiana still awaits long-term federal help.

Hunter says damage is estimated between $8 billion and $12 billion from Hurricane Laura, just one of the four federally declared disasters to hit Lake Charles in the last year. So far, $0 in supplemental disaster aid has been received.

“It would have been very easy for me to just shut up six months ago and say, ‘You know what? We tried. We failed. We’re going to move on,’” Hunter said. “But let me tell you, there’s people in this community that still need help. They need help at the level that can really only be provided on the state and federal level.”

In efforts to make sure Lake Charles and the rest of SWLA don’t go forgotten, Hunter said continuing conversations about long-term efforts are important.

“A year ago, there was a lot on the American mind, and Southwest Louisiana was probably not on the top of the list,” Hunter said. “That’s why appearances in Baton Rouge matter. That’s why continued communications with Washington D.C. matter. And these things are producing results. I certainly don’t want people to think that local leadership is just out there in the wilderness shouting at the wind.”

Hunter claims Hurricane Laura didn’t receive the same response for help as other similar disasters.

“Communities that have been through one singular natural disaster... after Hurricane Katrina, it took 10 days for supplemental disaster aid, 34 days after Andrew, 98 days after Super Storm Sandy. The most recent track record, which was nothing to brag about, was 230 days post-Hurricane Michael,” Hunter said. “They needed it, and I’m glad they got it. We just wish that we would have had the same attention on Southwest Louisiana that they had received.”

Hunter mention that two weeks ago a formal request for disaster aid was made in Washington D.C.

When asked if he received an explanation on why it took so long, Hunter said the answer he received was “pretty pathetic.”

“It’s a pretty pathetic answer, but I will just relay it as I receive it. And it is basically that there is more division and more polarization in D.C. today than there has been in over a generation,” Hunter said.

Hunter added that politics should not be involved when people are in need of help.

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