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LAKE CHARLES: A driver navigates a flooded road after Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm in southwest Louisiana, seen Thursday, August 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La.

Louisiana's southwestern parishes were awarded the bulk of $136 million in funding from FEMA on Thursday for long-term recovery projects aimed at reducing the risk of future flooding, including buyouts, elevations and drainage improvements. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the relief Thursday flanked by FEMA's newly installed administrator, Deanne Criswell, as a nearby weather map flashed images of a tropical disturbance that could drop up to 8 inches of rain on south Louisiana through the weekend. 

"Right now everyone in Louisiana along the coast needs to be paying attention," Edwards said. "Because we have rivers that are already high and drainage ditches that are already full, smaller rain than we may have experienced last month could be just as catastrophic."

Torrential rain last month thrashed much of south Louisiana, causing flood damage in thousands of homes stretching from Lake Charles to Baton Rouge and sparking a federal disaster declaration. At least five people died as a result of the rainy weather, state officials said. 

But the latest tranche of funding covers a different disaster: Hurricanes Laura and Delta, back-to-back storms that slammed into southwestern Louisiana in August and October. The catastrophe caused an estimated $3 billion in damage, Edwards said. 

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Calcasieu Parish, home of Lake Charles, is in line to receive $112.6 million, with another $13.5 million for Beauregard Parish, $9.4 million for Cameron Parish, $6.2 million for Jefferson Davis Parish and $2.6 million for Lafayette Parish, among two dozen other allocations. 

The funding comes on top of $40 million in similar grants announced in November. 

Still, to take advantage of the dollars, the parishes need to put up a required 25% match — a tall order for the storm-battered region. Edwards said they hope to fund that local match through federal Community Development Block Grants, though Congress has yet to allocate those dollars. 

Funding by Parish: 

  • Acadia: $1,832,003
  • Allen: $2,614,729
  • Beauregard: $13,579,020
  • Caddo: $1,322,663
  • Calcasieu: $112,628,002
  • Cameron: $9,483,777
  • Claiborne: $1,271,549
  • Grant: $2,286,214
  • Iberia: $1,559,808
  • Jackson: $684,281
  • Jefferson Davis: $6,225,331
  • Lafayette: $2,661,813
  • LaSalle: $654,566
  • Lincoln: $769,637
  • Morehouse: $745,195
  • Natchitoches: $1,270,544
  • Ouachita: $1,615,681
  • Rapides: $4,888,414
  • Sabine: $852,384
  • St. Landry: $1,572,046
  • St. Martin: $952,966
  • Union: $684,558
  • Vermilion: $1,729,675
  • Vernon: $3,296,656
  • Winn: $1,103,598

Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter @blakepater