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Looking south on Third Street, the majority of the downtown area sits empty, Saturday, May 9, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La.

The Main Street Recovery Grant Program cut more than 20,700 checks to small businesses across Louisiana totaling $262 million. 

Inside that figure, $162 million was awarded to minority, women or veteran-owned businesses. The program was required to carve out only $40 million for those historically disadvantaged companies. 

The program was overseen by the state treasurer's office and allocated from federal CARES Act funds. The average grant amount was $12,649 per business. 

Businesses in Jefferson Parish were allocated the most grant money, $36.9 million, while Orleans Parish businesses saw $34.9 million. East Baton Rouge Parish businesses were awarded $29.6 million, St. Tammany businesses split $15.7 million and businesses in Lafayette saw $14.8 million collectively. 

About 46% of companies approved for grants had no prior funding such as paycheck protection loans or U.S. Small Business Administration loans.

The program drew more requests than it could fulfill, receiving more than 40,800 applications.

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There were 107 applications suspected of fraud and reported to the Office of the Inspector General for Investigation.

Businesses that were forced to close or otherwise affected by the pandemic claimed reimbursements for expenses incurred since March. 

Rent, insurance, utilities, payroll, inventory replacement, teleworking equipment, sanitizers, cleaning supplies and equipment needed to set up social distancing were all eligible expenses. About the only thing that couldn't be claimed was lost revenue. 

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Email Kristen Mosbrucker at kmosbrucker@theadvocate.com.