Six South Louisiana parishes have been awarded a combined $41 million in federal grant money for flood resilience projects.
LA SAFE — Louisiana's Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments — was created to give long-term aid to the region most battered by Hurricane Isaac in 2012. The funding announced Tuesday will pay for everything from safer roads in St. John the Baptist to relocation of residents in Terrebonne Parish, according to a news release issued by the governor's office.
“Along with our Coastal Master Plan and the new Louisiana Watershed Initiative, these award-winning LA SAFE projects represent the cutting-edge in our efforts to proactively plan for the reality of our state’s increasing vulnerability to weather events and coastal erosion,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “In an era of escalating risks, now is the time to help our communities develop future sustainability and resilience.”
Lafourche Parish led the parishes with $10.5 million, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's National Disaster Resilience Competition.
Most of Lafourche's funds will pay for a resilient housing prototype. Their plan is to design flood- and wind-resistant neighborhoods on higher ground where coastal residents may move in as the Gulf continues to lap up the coast. LA SAFE authorities want to create neighborhoods where some of the new style of houses would be market-rate while others would be affordable to residents making much less than the median income.
Features of these homes would include elevated living spaces with parking underneath, pier and beam foundations, solar panels, permeable paving material and stormwater retention.
Spending money on flood-resistant affordable housing was not a priority for residents, but LA SAFE wrote in a description that "as populations migrate northward from south and central Lafourche Parish, medium-density, affordable residential developments should be prioritized ... This project will serve as a model for resilient construction practices as Lafourche adapts to its changing future."
Besides Lafourche, funding went to St. Tammany, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist and Terrebonne parishes.