New Orleans Rebuilding Updates

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


The Hurricane Family Assistance Center (1-866-326-9393) assists people who may have lost family members during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

What is the Family Assistance Center?
The Family Assistance Center (FAC) is the national collection point for information on missing family members or those who may have perished in Hurricanes Katrina, Rita or Wilma. The center seeks to reunite families and to help locate and recover the remains of loved ones. The Family Assistance Center is a joint effort between the State of Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The Center was established using best practices from global disasters and emergencies The FAC includes forensic and mortuary experts, chaplains, mental health and other professionals who can help families during the search. Since opening Sept. 7, the FAC has helped reunite thousands of families.

Who should call the Family Assistance Center?
Anyone with a missing family member who may have been displaced by the hurricanes can call 1-866-326-9393, from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm CST, seven days a week.

How can the Family Assistance Center help you find your relative?
Callers to the FAC are asked to provide any available information about their loved ones, including a physical description, doctors’ and dentists’ names, a medical history, dental work, joint replacements and unique characteristics such as tattoos, scars or birthmarks. Dental records can be especially valuable in identifying the deceased. If or when dental records are needed, family members may be asked to authorize their release to the appropriate authorities for proper identification. Health professionals, staff and volunteers at the call center are trained to provide sensitive, confidential assistance. With this information, the Call Center can:

• Coordinate with other organizations. The FAC works with other organizations, such as the Red Cross, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, State Patrol, and others to find missing persons.
– MORE –

• Search databases. The FAC has access to sophisticated software capable of performing complex matching of data through several databases to help locate and identify missing individuals and to reunite them with family.

• Gather forensic information. The FAC works closely with the St. Gabriel morgue to identify the remains of those who died during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita but have not been identified.

Does FAC share the information you give them with anyone else?
All information gathered by the volunteers and professionals will be held in the strictest confidence for the purpose of identifying and reuniting family members only.

What happens when your loved one is found?
When a missing survivor is found, the FAC works to reunite them with family. When a deceased relative is located, the FAC helps family members coordinate funeral arrangements once the local coroner has released the body.

What other services does the Family Assistance Center provide?
Mental health counseling is available to disaster victims and their families.

What is the Find Family National Call Center?
The Find Family National Call Center is a part of the Family Assistance Center providing a toll-free number for people to call for assistance in locating missing relatives.


What kind of tree should I purchase?

When purchasing a tree, needles should be green and hard to pull off the branches. These are the freshest cut trees you can find. If many needles fall off, this could be a fire hazard. If using an artificial tree, make sure it’s flame retardant.

Can I use my holiday lights from previous years?

Yes, however, you should always inspect previously used lights each year.

What type of decorations should I use?

All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. Avoid using candles.

Should I place holiday lights on my house with a blue roof?

No. For fire-safety reasons, residents should not place lights on damaged roofs or on blue roofs.

If there is a fire emergency in any residence, including FEMA travel trailers or mobile homes, get out and stay out. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan. Visit for further safety tips.


Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) funds are available to individuals with flood insurance policies backed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). ICC provides up to $30,000 to bring flooded properties into compliance with local floodplain regulations.

ICC funds can be used for:

• Floodproofing (primarily for non-residential buildings) – Making a building watertight through a combination of adjustments or additions of features to the building
• Relocation – Moving a home or business out of the flood zone
• Elevation –Raising a home or business to or above the flood-elevation level adopted by the local community
• Demolition – Tearing down and removing flood-damaged buildings

Flooded properties are eligible for ICC funds in two instances:

• Substantial damage – The local community determines the home or business is so damaged by the flood that repairs will cost 50 percent or more of the building’s pre-damage value.
• Repetitive damage – The local community must have a repetitive loss provision in its floodplain management ordinance and must determine that the home or business was damaged by a flood twice in the past 10 years. The cost of repairing the damage must on average equal or exceed 25 percent of the building’s market value at the time of the flood. There must have been a flood insurance claim payment for both losses.

ICC claims must be filed separately from flood damage claims. The local community determines the property has suffered either substantial or repetitive damage, at which point owners should contact their insurance company for ICC funding.


BATON ROUGE, La. — The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are helping individuals and families with rental assistance who were previously a resident of HUD-assisted housing prior to Hurricane Katrina.

Through a new FEMA-funded housing assistance program called the Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program (KDHAP), families will be able to settle in areas, across the United States, that were not affected by the disaster. FEMA will relocate families to the area of their choice. The families may return to their home state as housing is rebuilt or repaired.

To qualify for the KDHAP program, individuals must have been previously HUD assisted by a Section 8 voucher, in public housing or in some other type of HUD-assisted property, or homeless immediately before Hurricane Katrina.

KDHAP provides up to 18 months of rental assistance beginning from the date of the official declaration of the disaster on Aug. 29, 2005. Eligible families must first register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 and be registered no later than Dec. 31, 2005 to be eligible for KDHAP.

The amount of rental assistance for KDHAP is up to 100 percent of the fair market rental rate for the area. All property owners and landlords are encouraged to support the KDHAP program and make their vacant units available to families displaced by Katrina. They should contact their local housing authorities if they have units available.

To register with the KDHAP program, call the KDHAP Referral Call Center at 1-866-373-9509.


BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana residents and business owners in the 54 disaster-declared parishes who sustained damage during the recent hurricanes have only one month to apply for disaster assistance. Jan. 11, 2006 is the last day applications will be accepted for Individual Assistance. Loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster-related losses to real and personal property must also be submitted by that date.

“We want people to understand that this deadline is for new disaster applications,” said Scott Wells, federal coordinating officer. “For individuals who have already applied, their cases will continue to be processed. New applications will not be accepted after the Jan. 11 deadline.”

Federal and state disaster recovery officials urge those who have not done so to apply as soon as possible by calling the toll-free application number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The special number for those with hearing or speech impairment is TTY 1-800-462-7585. Individuals may also register for disaster assistance at the FEMA Web site

To date, nearly 1.5 million individuals have applied for disaster assistance in the state. More than 3.6 billion in disaster funds has been approved for individuals impacted by the disaster including more than $670 billion in disaster loans from SBA.

LA. Natural Disaster Refund Guidelines

Just want to make sure that all of you are aware of a provision in the
state tax code that allows for refund of sales tax on certain items
destroyed by natural disaster. Of course Katrina & Rita fall into this

At you can access the regs and forms. Click on
Rita or Katrina in the "Hurricane Information " section in the center,
then on the next screen, click on the "Sales Tax Refund" section in the
column to the left. (The info for each hurricane is a little different
because the impacted parishes are different.)

You actually have about 3 years to file these forms but I'm working on
ours now while things are easier to remember and we have the insurance
info/forms handy.

Please share this info with family, friends and clients. If an
individual doesn't have internet access they can contact an LDR Regional
Office listed in the phone book. Thank you.

Terry Meeuwenberg
OFS Community Mobilization & Outreach Services
Suite 515
3510 N. Causeway Blvd.
Metairie LA 70002
504-838-5358 (office)

Dept. of Social Services/Office of Family Support
With You. For You. Building a Stronger Louisiana.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Disaster Assistance Information Update from American Red Cross

Teams of Red Cross volunteers will distribute clean-up kits and other items in American Red Cross trucks on routes covering the areas of need. Volunteers in trucks will distribute items on certain days in these specified routes. These routes replace the fixed distribution sites that were established in the area.

The mobile distribution routes will cover the following areas:
Inner City New Orleans
New Orleans East
Upper 9th Ward
Lower 9th Ward
Plaquemines Parish
St. Bernard Parish

The route boundaries by day of distribution are as follows:

Region 1 -Tuesday
Northern boundry – Florida Ave.
Western boundry - the Orleans/Jefferson Parish line
Southern boundry – St. Charles Ave.
Eastern boundry – S. Carrollton to Claibourne down to Jefferson

Region 2 – Wednesday
Northern boundry – Florida Ave.
Western boundry - S. Carrollton Ave.
Southern boundry - S. Claibourne Ave.
Eastern boundry - Broad Ave. to I-10 to S. Claiborne Ave.

Region 3 – Thursday
Northern boundry – Gentilly Blvd/Chef Mentour
Western boundry - Broad Ave. to I-10 to S. Claibourne Ave. down to Louisiana Ave.
Southern boundry – St. Charles Ave.
Eastern boundry - Inner Harbor Canal down to Florida Ave. to Franklin/Almonaster to St. Claude/N. Rampart to I-10 to Magazine

Region 4 – Friday
Northern boundry – Lake Ponchartrain
Western boundry - the Orleans /Jefferson Parish line
Southern boundry - Florida Ave. to Gentilly Blvd/Chef Mentour
Eastern boundry - Inner Harbor Canal

Region 5 – Saturday
Northern boundry – Lake Ponchartrain
Western boundry - Jourdan Road
Southern boundry – Intracoastal Waterway
Eastern boundry - Paris Road
(includes Vietnamese Community)

Region 6 – Sunday
Northern boundry – Florida Ave.
Western boundry - Franklin/Almonaster Ave.
Southern boundry – Mississippi River
Eastern boundry - Paris Road and
Plaquemines Parish

Friday, December 02, 2005

Red cross feeding sites change

As of December 1st, the American Red Cross will change the way meals are distributed in and around the New Orleans, Louisiana, area. There will no longer be fixed feeding sites. Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) will begin a mobile distribution of meals to neighborhoods in need from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily.

Residents Encouraged to Drop Off Household Hazardous Waste

(New Orleans, LA) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a two-day special collection of household hazardous waste from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 3-4, 2005. Residents may bring hazardous waste products discarded from their homes to the agency's Samuel Square drop-off site, located at the intersection of Napoleon Avenue and S. Saratoga Street..

Household hazardous waste includes items like bleach and other cleaning solutions, propane, batteries, paints and containers of other household chemicals.

The Samuel Square collection site can only accept hazardous waste.

Residents may discard electronic goods, including TVs and computers, at the Pontchartrain Center, 4545 Williams Blvd. in Kenner, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, 2005.

This collection supplements EPA's ongoing collection of waste throughout the city. The agency collects curbside waste daily, an operation that takes between seven and nine days to cycle through all neighborhoods.

For more information about the collection of household hazardous waste, call 1-800-887-6063.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Flood Map Tutorial

The following link will take you to the FEMA online tutorials on how to read a flood map. These online tutorials should help answer any of your frequently asked questions. If they do not, please e-mail me your questions and we will work to find answers.
FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping - Online Tutorials

Monday, November 21, 2005

LA/SPCA Completes Multi-Agency Post-Katrina Animal Assessment

The multi-agency assessment team convened by the Louisiana SPCA to assess the state-of-animals in the city has completed its work.

The team’s goals were a) to obtain a sense of the post-hurricane stray population and b) to determine animals’ health condition. The LA/SPCA will use the results and discussion to tailor its animal response efforts to match the needs of the community.

The assessment team included two professionals each from the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Best Friends Animal Society, American Humane Association, United Animal Nations, U.S. Public Health Service, LA/SPCA, St. Bernard Parish Animal Control, and visiting staff from the Nebraska Humane Society and Humane Society of Missouri who are here working day-by-day with the LA/SPCA. The team also included individual rescuers who have been working in New Orleans since the beginning of the rescue effort to save animals following the disaster.

Two-person teams, each person representing a different organization, were assigned a search area in one of five hot spots – Lakeview, East, Gentilly, Lower 9th ward, and St. Bernard. Each team worked the same area from 6am to 9am and 5pm to 8pm. They were asked to look under houses, search behind brush and other hiding spots, search for animal tracks, and to speak to residents and workers about their animal sightings. Teams used bait to lure pets to the area while assessors watched from afar.

Each team saw an average of three dogs and three cats during their three-hour assessment period. All animals appeared to be in good flesh condition. A couple of animals showed lameness in one of their legs.

Although not a scientific or statistically accurate study, this exercise attempted to assess the health condition of the animals in unpopulated areas of the city as well as to evaluate the number of animals roaming at large at a time of day when animals are typically most active.

In general, the majority of the team members were surprised by the low number of animals spotted in a city that has typically had a high stray population. Animals appeared to be of normal weight with a couple dogs slightly thin. During our assessment period, rescuers noted that they are seeing various health problems ranging from fleas to emaciation in the animals they are receiving.

Some areas of the city had a higher number of feeding stations than other areas. Some teams left fresh food and revisited the station during the next shift. A few stations had been visited by animals, but many were not utilized.

Workers and residents did not report seeing high numbers of animals, but did comment on seeing a few animals occasionally.

Although not sizably visible during our assessment, teams agree that there are more strays than appeared during our study. Some of the volunteer rescuers believe that there are many more animals waiting to be rescued, who could not be quantified during this assessment.

Animal Control is humane trapping between 15-30 dogs and cats a night and the Best Friends shelter in Tylertown, MS, is accepting approximately 20-30 animals a day. Other groups are also trapping some animals. Approximately one-third of the animals have collars; some have tags.

Unlike other cities following a disaster, residents have not been able to return to the hardest-hit areas making it difficult for strays to find food sources. There is concern that animals, including wildlife, will not be able to sustain themselves over the long-term.

The city has a unique opportunity, due to the manageable number of animals remaining, to get a handle on the strays before they begin to breed.

Next Steps
There is still much work to be done. To take advantage of New Orleans’ unique opportunity to get a grasp on its stray population, the LA/SPCA will contract with a high-volume, experienced humane trapper being provided by the Humane Society of the United States to manage a comprehensive 4-6 week program. Both national and local groups are willing to provide staff and volunteer trappers that will be trained and dispatched from Animal Control.

Animals that are caught via humane trapping will be triaged at the Animal Control facility. Local sheltering partners such as Best Friends may take the animals to their facilities where they will hold them for a minimum of five-days to allow owners an opportunity to locate their pets. All incoming animals are placed on to give owners an opportunity to locate their companion.

Although the LA/SPCA’s full-service veterinary clinic was destroyed, they will soon launch an aggressive spay and neuter program and offer a rabies and microchipping drive to New Orleans’ residents. In the next few weeks, they will be reintroducing their off-site adoption program.

“We wish to thank the agencies and individuals who gave their time and expertise to participate in the multi-agency assessment. Our joint efforts resulted in a coordinated trapping campaign that will effectively capture remaining animals. We and the animals in our community have been blessed with incredible support from our colleagues around the country,” said Laura Maloney, Executive Director of the LA/SPCA.

If you have lost a pet or believe an animal needs help, please call animal control at (504) 368-5191, ext 100. If you see an animal in a neighbor’s yard and you’re not sure he/she has returned, please call us immediately. If you’re trying to locate a pet that may have been rescued in the disaster area, please visit both and

The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA/SPCA) is a private non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of animal suffering. Chartered in 1888, it is the oldest and most comprehensive animal welfare organization in the state of Louisiana providing care and basic medical services for approximately 11,000 homeless and unwanted animals each year. The LA/SPCA is a membership organization that depends upon the support of the public. The LA/SPCA asks that you demand to see official identification from animal welfare agents to ensure proper authority.


World-renowned Audubon Zoo is ready to open its doors and will be FREE on the Thanksgiving weekend as a way to welcome families back to New Orleans. It is the first major family tourist attraction to reopen in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina devastated the region in late August.

The zoo will be open 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 25, 2005 for Audubon members only. Everyone is invited to visit the zoo FREE on Saturday, November 26 and Sunday, November 27, 2005 from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

"Reopening the Zoo is a symbol that the heart and soul of New Orleans survives," said Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO. "Families have been enjoying Audubon Zoo for 120 years, and we're proud to be part of the history of New Orleans. While we all work to rebuild our city, we know that spending time with family and enjoying a visit to the park and zoo will help build new memories for generations to come."

Audubon Marketplace Gift Shop will feature a variety of unique gifts and New Orleans items, and a 10% discount for everyone shopping during the 'welcome home' weekend. Little ones will enjoy the 'paint your own' Thomas the Tank Engine activity table, "Do a Dot" art station, temporary tattoos, and a 'create your own jewelry' table. Shopping has never been more fun!

As part of its opening celebration, guests will be welcomed by the sounds of Phil Melancon and "Blue Fondue," playing Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Additional entertainment for Zoo visitors will include:

* Holiday Bayou Walk - an interactive educational and entertainment area decorated for the holidays will feature presentations of Blue/Gold Macaws, African pygmy hedgehog, box tortoise and chinchilla. A gator character will greet each visitor at the wildlife walk entrance and invite them to celebrate the holiday in the Bayou with him. The experience was created and will be staffed by St. Louis Zoo officials;
* "Nature's Gifts" - a holiday themed show at Shell Wildlife Theatre;
* Various native culture and animal presentations at the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit;
* "Meet and Greet" farm animals at the Embraceable Zoo;
* Keeper chats and animal feedings (including large alligator);
* Carousel, Ride simulator and Swamp Train attractions (regular charge); and
* Snacks and refreshments available for purchase throughout zoo.

After Thanksgiving weekend, the zoo will be open on Saturdays and Sundays through the end of February. Additionally, the Zoo will be open Monday, December 26 through Sunday, January 1. It will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In partnership with Radio Disney, the zoo will be the site for the second annual Noon Year's Eve, a special family celebration complete with a cider toast at noon on Saturday, December 31. Regular admission will be charged (Adults $12, Seniors [65+] $9, Children [2-12] $7, Members free.)

* Audubon Golf Course is open for weekend play (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) only through the end of February. The course will be open Dec. 26 - Jan. 1; it will be closed on Christmas Day. Call 504-329-2379 for tee times.
* Audubon Park and Woldenberg Riverfront Park are currently open.
* Audubon Zoo Marketplace Gift Shop will be open daily from Friday, November 25 - December 23 from 10 am to 4 pm.
* The Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species located on the Westbank in New Orleans, continues endangered species research and animal care.
* Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Entergy IMAX(R) Theatre are expected to reopen in summer 2006.
* Audubon Louisiana Nature Center is located in New Orleans East and remains closed due to damage to the buildings and grounds.

Audubon Nature Institute has a total economic impact of $330 million, and operates nine parks and museums in New Orleans dedicated to Celebrating the Wonders of Nature, including Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy IMAX® Theatre, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Wilderness Park, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Park.

For more information about the zoo re-opening, other Audubon facility status and/or to donate to Audubon's recovery effort, please visit <> or call 504-581-IMAX (4629).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Inviting New Orleans Citizens back into the French Quarter for the Holidays

Shop the French Quarter this holiday season and let this year be the start of a new tradition as we rebuild our city. Shop locally and discover the magical landmark that is in your own backyard. All of your shopping needs can be found in the Vieux Carre which has toy and magic shops for children, live and recorded music for the jazz aficionado, electronics, books and games, novelty items, clothing, jewelry, antiques, arts, collectables and pottery…. something for everyone on your shopping list!

More then 50 French Quarter merchants are scheduled to participate in this celebration of rebuilding our city’s oldest shopping district. Participating stores include: Antiques and Small Pleasures, The Artist Market and Bead Shop, Axelle Fine Arts, Beckham’s Bookshop, Bottom of the Cup Tea Room, The Crystal Menagerie, French Connection Clothing, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Hove Parfumeur, Ltd., Kingfish Cigars, Little Toy Shop, Photo Works New Orleans, Southern Candymakers, Wellington & Company Fine Jewelry, and Whisnant Galleries. A complete listing of participants may be found online at: the French Quarter Business Association website:,, and

In addition to the over 50 merchants who will be participating, other activities include:

· Santa Claus will be on hand at The Santa’s Quarters (located at 1025 Decatur Street)

  • Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans will be at Wellington & Company (located at 505 Royal Street) distributing “End-Hunger” Bracelets for a $1 donation per bracelet.

Gather your family, neighbors and out of town guests this Thanksgiving Weekend and trek down to the French Quarter. Make a day of it by eating a delicious meal at one of our fine restaurants and support area merchants by doing your holiday shopping downtown this year in the world famous French Quarter-- New Orleans’ original shopping district.

For more information on French Quarter merchants that are participating in the effort to invite New Orleans citizens to visit the Quarter for their holiday shopping, please contact:

Calvin Campany, Manager

Wellington & Company

505 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

Telephone: 504-525-4855

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Garbage collection information for Orleans Parish

BATON ROUGE - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials with the Louisiana Recovery Field Office announces current information regarding curbside collection of household garbage for Orleans Parish.

In Orleans Parish, once-a-week scheduled household garbage pick-up has been implemented. View the map here.

Residents are asked to bag their garbage and place it on the curbside the night before their designated date and limit their curbside garbage to no more than two 32-gallon trash containers (or the equivalent of eight trash bags) per week.

Philips and Jordan (North Orleans) and ECC Operating Services (South Orleans) are the prime contractors on this Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assigned mission managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Crews will continue removing storm debris from public roads and rights of way. Trucks will continue to make several passes through neighborhoods.

Homeowners are asked to segregate their debris and place it in the public right of way for quicker removal. Please separate debris into the following categories:

· Vegetation and Woody Debris (tree branches, leaves, etc.)
· Construction debris (building materials, drywall, lumber, carpeting, furniture, mattresses, etc.)
· Household hazardous wastes (oils, batteries, pesticides, paints, cleaning supplies - what you would typically find in your garage)
· White goods (refrigerators, washers, dryers, freezers, air conditioners, stoves, water heaters, dishwashers)
· Electronics (televisions, computers, radios, etc.)
· Household garbage

Please note: All Household garbage MUST BE BAGGED and separated from hurricane debris, and refrigerator/freezer doors should be secured with duct tape.

City Reinstates Fees for Towing and Parking Violations

As part of ongoing recovery efforts, the City of New Orleans will issue payable parking citations and charge tow fees beginning Monday, November 14, 2005.

The areas of concentration for enforcement are the French Quarter, Canal Street from Claiborne Avenue to the river, Poydras Street, Convention Center Boulevard from Poydras Street to Calliope Street; the Central Business District; Lee Circle; and St. Charles Avenue from Lee Circle to Jackson Avenue.

Citations will be written for the following safety violations:

* Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant: $20
* Parking in a fire lane: $20
* Parking on the median: $75
* Parking on the sidewalk: $20
* Parking in the travel portion of the roadway: $20
* Parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk or intersection: $20

Vehicles may be towed for all of the above violations; the tow fee is $100.

Citations can be paid and vehicles retrieved at 400 N. Claiborne Ave. from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. Payments can also be mailed to:

Violations Bureau
P.O. Box 52828
New Orleans, LA 70152

Citations can be contested by mail. Instructions are listed on the back of the ticket.

For more information, please call the Department of Public Works at (504) 658-8000.