Tolls resume on La. 1
LEEVILLE (AP) — The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will resume toll operations the La. 1 Expressway in Leeville on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
DOTD will be conducting manual toll collections and automated tolls will be collected by Geaux Pass toll tags. The in-lane cash and charge machine was severely damaged when a large truck struck it last month. DOTD expects to have a replacement installed sometime this fall.
The tolls had been suspended by DOTD to facilitate evacuation, emergency and protective services once it was determined that Hurricane Isaac would pose a significant threat to the Leeville/Port Fourchon area.
La. officials urge horse vaccinations
(AP) — The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is advising horse owners to vaccinate their animals for eastern equine encephalitis and west Nile virus.
Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said heavy rainfall from Hurricane Isaac could sharply increase the mosquito population in the coming weeks. Mosquitoes carry the diseases.
The diseases can cause inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord.
Biologists study Isaac’s impact on deer
(AP) — Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists are assessing the impact of Hurricane Isaac on deer populations in parishes flooded by the storm.
Biologists say flooding killed some deer. Aerial, waterborne and ground surveys of the storm’s overall impact on deer will continue through September.
Data collected will be used to develop recommendations for possible changes to the upcoming deer season. Such proposals would be presented to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission for consideration at its Oct. 4 meeting.
State reopens some oyster beds
(AP) — The state Department of Health and Hospitals has reopened some of the oyster beds that were closed Aug. 28 as a precautionary measure in advance of Hurricane Isaac.
Oyster harvesting areas located in coastal areas of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson and Lafourche parishes reopen Monday.
Some harvest areas in those parishes will remain closed, however, until health officials determine the waters are clear and within approved area criteria established by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, which is part of the federal Food and Drug Administration.
The oyster beds were closed as a precaution because flooding can cause natural contaminants to wash into oyster-growing areas.
Maurepas Swamp WMA reopens after Isaac cleanup
MAUREPAS (AP) — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has reopened the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area, which closed before Hurricane Isaac’s landfall.
The area in Ascension, Livingston, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes reopened Monday.
The Hope Canal boat launch access road remains flooded and will be closed until the water goes down and the road is considered safe for traffic. Some waterways in and around the wildlife management area are still closed by local parishes, so boaters should check with sheriff’s offices to be sure the waterways they intend to use are open before coming to the WMA.
Elm Hall (Assumption Parish); Elmer’s Island (Jefferson Parish); and that part of Pearl River WMA north of I-10 in St. Tammany Parish remain closed for debris removal.
N.O. museum plans to reopen Tuesday
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Museum of Art expects to reopen on Tuesday after a clean-up necessitated by Hurricane Isaac.
Museum director Susan Taylor tells The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/SqPPmZ) that water seeped into the museum’s administrative offices.
Except for the swampy basement, the museum suffered minimal damage from Isaac.
Some rain intruded through the sills of the plate glass windows around the café area and an ornamental plaster truss in the museum’s atrium was dampened by a leak.
But Taylor said no artwork was affected.
Power remained out at the building until Sept. 1, delaying the repairs. Generators provided emergency power during and after the storm, but weren’t powerful enough to provide the air-conditioning necessary to operate the museum, Taylor said. Power was restored earlier this week.
The Sydney and Walda Besthoff sculpture garden next to the museum suffered damage to foliage, but museum officials said artworks on display there were not damaged by the hurricane.
Hurricane-resistant home survives Isaac
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Officials of OceanSafe say the hurricane-resistant model home built in New Orleans as a demonstration project survived Hurricane Isaac undamaged.
The home, as well as several other company-built structures around the New Orleans area, took no damage from the hurricane’s winds and heavy rain.
The company built a steel-paneled demonstration home earlier this year using materials and technology designed to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes.
Hurricane Katrina took a heavy toll on housing in the city when it made landfall in August 2005.
Isaac came ashore the night of Aug. 28-29, with hurricane-force winds and heavy rain.
Miss. not expected to get post-Isaac revenue leap
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — State economist Darrin Webb says he does not expect Mississippi to see a surge in tax collections after Hurricane Isaac the way it did after Hurricane Katrina.
“My thinking is that while in theory there may be some slight uptick in revenues as a result of Isaac, it will be inconsequential,” Webb told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/RA8vKd ).
Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who was state treasurer when Katrina hit, agreed with Webb’s assessment.
“The final damage assessments caused by Hurricane Isaac will not be known for some time, but we should not anticipate a shopping spree like we saw after Hurricane Katrina,” Reeves said.
“Families throughout the state rebuilt houses and replaced belongings like appliances and cars, and those purchases translated into revenue for state and local governments through tax collections,” Reeves said. “Widespread purchases on that scale simply are not likely.”
Isaac moved ashore Aug. 28 and dumped large amounts of rain in south Mississippi, causing flooding in Hancock, Jackson and Pearl River counties. But it was a much smaller storm than Katrina, which struck on Aug. 29, 2005, and left a wide path of destruction across the coast and more than 200 miles inland. Officials say there will be much less federal money pumped into Mississippi for Isaac recovery than there was for Katrina.
Katrina hit less than two months after the state’s 2006 budget year started. Revenue collections that fiscal year grew 12.8 percent — the first double-digit increase since 1994, when casino gambling was getting started in the state. In 2007, Mississippi experienced another double-digit growth in revenue.
By 2008 as the national economic slowdown hit, state revenue collections were only growing 3.1 percent, followed by two years of negative growth.
After those two years where collections were less than the previous year, the state is again experiencing modest revenue growth. But Webb said not to expect too much from Isaac.
“You will recall that last year we saw arguably greater flooding and yet we did not really notice a revenue bounce,” Webb said, referring to the 2011 flooding of the Mississippi River. “If there is a bump this year, my guess is we will not be able to identify it in the data.”
Center opens to help business recovery
AVONDALE (AP) — A business recovery center to help companies deal with the impact of Hurricane Isaac has been set up in Jefferson Parish.
The center is a joint venture of the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Small Business Development Centers. It is operating at JEDCO’s facility in Avondale.
The center will provide a range of services and counseling.
A full list of services is available online at www.jedco.org.
Levee delivers more headaches in Terrebonne
MONTEGUT (AP) — A marsh management levee that is expected to become part of Terrebonne Parish’s Morganza hurricane protection system was severely damaged during Hurricane Isaac.
The Courier reports (http://bit.ly/SqT3a8) the storm’s tidal surge destroyed one of the levee’s water control structures, washing it away and leaving behind a 50-foot gap.
Terrebonne Levee Director Reggie Dupre said the levee, which crosses open water in the Wildlife and Fisheries’ Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area in Montegut, has caused repeated headaches for the levee district.
Without a permanent fix, the district will continue to spend millions of dollars on repeated repairs, Dupre said.
“We haven’t had a storm yet where there weren’t repairs,” said Terrebonne Levee District Manager Angela Rains.
The levee, which stands about 6 feet tall, is part of a project to improve water quality and prevent saltwater intrusion into about 1,000 feet of marsh between Island Road and Point Farm. It is not meant to provide hurricane protection.
But the levee performs other important functions, Dupre said, including knocking down storm surge headed for the parish levee that protects Montegut.
Dupre said residents watching surge rise at the Montegut levee could tell when the marsh management levee failed last week because water suddenly rose by several feet on the backside of the levee, nearly overtopping the community’s protection.
Isaac delays opening of Raceland market
RACELAND (AP) — The opening of the Lafourche Central Market, which had been delayed by Hurricane Isaac, has been rescheduled for Sept. 15.
The Daily Comet reports (http://bit.ly/SqRJnK ) the market is an open-air pavilion equipped with about 30 booths for local farmers and fishermen to sell their wares.
The market is on Louisiana Highway 1 in Raceland.
More details about the market are available by calling Brandi LeCompte at 985-438-1231.