Katrina Cottages Held Back by 'Red Tape'

Two years after the program's authorization, 500 cottages intended for residents displaces after Katrina have still not been built. Meanwhile, they have cropped up in Mississippi, which faced less damage overall.
October 2, 2008, 1pm PDT | Judy Chang
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"The program was a key piece of evidence offered by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco and other Louisiana politicians complaining that a disproportionate share of federal hurricane relief went to Mississippi, which got $281 million for the project despite losing fewer residences than its western neighbor. But the Louisiana program since has been beset by public disagreements among state agencies, elected and appointed officials and the private contractor hired as the developer, with all sides pointing fingers at 'red tape' and each other.

In Mississippi, despite negative attention last week for a few hundred of their alternative trailers being condemned for Hurricane Gustav damage, the state Emergency Management Agency has placed 2,800 Mississippi Cottage units; 300 more await delivery to nonprofit agencies that will provide them to disadvantaged Mississippians.

In a written statement last week, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, 'It is unacceptable that not one cottage has been built yet under this program. I've asked (LRA executive director) Paul Rainwater to take the lead . . . to cut through the red tape and do what it takes to expedite getting these cottages built.'"

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Published on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 in The Times-Picayune
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