Livingston Parish residents say, officials dropped the ball following 2016 flood

Louisiana

LIVINGSTON, La. (BRPROUD) – Livingston Parish residents packed the council chambers demanding answers after receiving a letter saying, they may have to make adjustments to their home following the 2016 flood.

More than 1,200 residents received the letter from the parish’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness making them aware that they may have to make changes to their homes or business to elevate them from potential floods.

Residents said, the letter is an inconvenience because the parish failed to properly assess their homes to meet National Flood Insurance requirements. 

“To see us spend even more money after we already redone the whole thing. It hurts my heart. It’s just an open wound, it keeps coming back with this letter,” said Livingston Parish resident Elizabeth Gillan.

During Monday’s meeting, Gillan shed tears while giving an emotional speech, pleading for the parish to take accountability for dropping the ball. 

According to the LOHSEP, the letter was supposed to be issued in 2016, instead it went under the radar. It was a 2019 FEMA audit that found discrepancies with the parish that brought the letter to light.

“FEMA notified us that there was the potential for the entire parish to be kicked out of the NFIP meaning that homeowners that are within the parish jurisdiction would not have access to affordable flood coverage,” said Deputy Director of LOHSEP Brandi Janes.

The Parish President and other elected officials were absent from the meeting, but the parish’s Assessor, Jeff Taylor said residents have been through a lot and now they’re trying to ease the burden and help them out.

“It was a gut punch, you’re sitting there, went through the flood and thinking you have done everything you were supposed to do and all of a sudden you get hit with this,” said Taylor.

By the end of the standing room only meeting residents aimed their frustration at parish officials who they say, didn’t do their jobs.

“I don’t want to see myself or anyone else pay one penny when it was the parish fault of not doing what they needed to do when we asked and asked and asked,” said Gillan.

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