Terrebonne Parish Demolishing Storm-Hit Homes

Disasters and AccidentsMeteorological DisastersHurricanes and Tropical StormsFEMAGovernment

Terrebonne Parish is planning to demolishabout 450 hurricane-damaged homes, mostly in low-lying bayoucommunities.

Parish officials said the structures will be torn down thisspring because they are in such dilapidated condition that theypose a threat during future storms. Many of the homes were floodedby Hurricane Ike in 2008.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is paying for thework, has given the parish $4.3 million for the project, saidGeoffrey Large, the parish's assistant planning director.

The parish is asking FEMA for another $1.4 million to completethe demolitions by the federal government's March 31 deadline, hesaid.

Other parishes have taken advantage of the FEMA program,according to Veronica Mosgrove, a spokeswoman for the Governor'sOffice of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Mosgrove said FEMA paid to demolish about 17,000 residential andcommercial structures in Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina andRita in 2005. More than 500 buildings are being demolished inCameron, St. James, Jefferson and Terrebonne parishes because ofIke and Gustav in 2008, she said.

In Terrebonne Parish, the homes had to go through a condemnationhearing and many of them had previously flooded or were alreadyabandoned. Not only are those homes a beacon for criminal activity,they're also in danger of becoming debris that could clog theparish's drainage system, said parish Planning Director Pat Gordon.

"At some point that structure is going to collapse and createan even bigger problem to the parish," he said.

As of last week, 248 homes and buildings had been torn down,with about 40 of those done by the owners themselves because theywanted to salvage the lumber or metal, Gordon said.

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