“Complete areas of devastation” - Reps. Carter and Scalise assess Ida damage as recovery continues

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:02 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Federal lawmakers are continuing to assess the damage left by Hurricane Ida on the Gulf Coast. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA) traveled around their districts Wednesday, as their constituents continued to struggle with the carnage left by Ida. The two lawmakers represent districts that took the brunt of Ida’s destruction.

“As bad as this storm was, and make no bones about it, it was bad, we’re fortunate it could’ve been worse,” said Carter. “And that does not dismiss the fact that for some it was as bad as you could possible imagine.”

Carter says he is encouraged that power came back on in certain parts of his district, but he said he does not want to get over excited about the progress considering some areas could still have a long way to go. Carter said he is trying to get federal resources where they need to go in the immediate term, meeting with state and federal officials on the ground. The congressman believes they were as prepared as possible for Ida’s impact.

“We certainly learned from Katrina by investing the money and fortifying our levees,’ said Carter. “Hopefully we’ll learn this time while we’re going through an infrastructure plan (in Congress). I’m asking federal government and utilities to take advantage of this opportunity and really build back better.”

For Carter that means doing things like putting power lines underground to prevent outages and dangerous conditions in the streets. Scalise agrees with rebuilding the power grid in a more innovative manner. He says some parts were hit with winds more characteristic of a category five hurricane.

“Complete areas of devastation where houses are just flattened,” said Scalise. “One of the parish presidents, Archie Chaisson, pointed out an area and said there were five houses there a week ago and they’re all gone.”

Scalise says Louisiana lawmakers will seek additional funding from Congress in the coming weeks to help in the recovery process. He says they will also keep trying to get funding for southwest Louisiana, which is yet to receive some key federal resources following Hurricane Laura a year ago.

“I’m going to be pushing to make sure we get the relief we need, but we’re not going to forget about y’all (in the Lake Charles area). Y’all need to be included in whatever happens because frankly it should’ve happened a year ago,” said Scalise.

Scalise and Carter both say it is important President Joe Biden is visiting the state on Friday. Scalise told us the hopes to have conversations about how the federal government can help make certain parts of this recovery move more quickly.

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