LAKE CHARLES – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) toured Barbe High School to learn how that school was affected by Hurricane Laura, and what more needs to be done to help them recover.
Cassidy has been an advocate for Calcasieu Parish Schools since the hurricane. He has spoken with FEMA’s Regional Administrator to push them to reimburse the school system for their damage expenses. Additionally, Cassidy helped pass the FY 2022 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act last fall, to help Louisiana recover from Hurricanes Laura, Ida and Delta, among other disasters.
“Lake Charles and southwest Louisiana have been incredibly resilient following Hurricane Laura,” said Dr. Cassidy. “But they still need our assistance. We have and will continue to do everything possible to help this region make a full recovery.”
For the tour, Cassidy was joined by State Senator Mark Abraham, State Representative Phillip Tarver, and Calcasieu Parish Schools Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus.
“I’m grateful for Senator Cassidy’s leadership in helping our area get back on its feet after Hurricane Laura,” said Sen. Abraham. “Among other assistance, his advocacy before FEMA to get Calcasieu Parish Schools reimbursed for hurricane damage is a huge help to our students, parents and taxpayers. Together, we will make Lake Charles and southwest Louisiana whole.”
“We appreciate Senator Cassidy coming to Barbe High School,” said Rep. Tarver. “This is a solid example of our government working together to solve real problems that impact our people. We have spent almost 2 years trying to work through these problems, and with our Senators and Congressman Higgins pressing through, we are finally making some positive outcomes. Our children and families will finally benefit with specific recovery issues completed.”
“We appreciate Senator Cassidy’s assistance in hopefully helping us procure our first issuance of permanent FEMA funding,” said Superintendent Bruchhaus. “We anticipate spending $260+ million on permanent Hurricane Laura repairs, and we’ve yet to receive any FEMA funding for permanent work. While the $150 million in borrowed funds has carried our district thus far, those funds are running out quickly. We appreciate any and all efforts from our legislators to expedite this process.”
Earlier that day, Cassidy addressed the SWLA Economic Development Alliance, and spoke with a group of mayors and elected officials about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Funds from the IIJA have already aided southwest Louisiana, including aid for the Southwest Coastal Louisiana Hurricane Protection Project, the I-10 over US & Missouri Pacific RR and I-10 Sabine River Bridges Rehabilitation projects, orphan well restoration, and Lake Charles Regional Airport.
“The bipartisan infrastructure plan is already making a huge difference for southwest Louisiana,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It was great to meet with local leaders to discuss how we can get more out of the infrastructure plan for their communities.”
Before addressing the SWLA Economic Development Alliance, Cassidy was welcomed by its President and CEO, Mr. George Swift.
“We want to thank Senator Cassidy for meeting with the Chamber SWLA board to discuss the ongoing Hurricane Recovery efforts, the Infrastructure Bill and how it will impact our state, plus other current topics,” said Mr. Swift.“We always appreciate Senator Cassidy’s willingness to help Southwest Louisiana.”