Debris to be cleared Monday: Local flood victims can also get temporary food assistance

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bogalusa and Washington Parish residents should have their flood-related debris and trash on the curb and ready for pickup beginning next week.

City and parish officials have said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reimbursing both local governments for trash pickups.

“Everything that you put out to the curbside, we’ll pick it up,” said Bogalusa public works director James Hall.

Hall said city workers would begin collecting in the northwest quadrant of the city. If residents have not yet documented and registered their losses from last week’s flooding with FEMA yet, they should photograph their waste before setting it on the curb.

“So if you got a sign up that says do not pick up, take a picture of it for FEMA, because starting Monday, we’re going to be picking everything up,” Hall said.

He is also asking residents to separate their trash into piles based on white goods (like appliances), construction waste, furniture and carpet and vegetation.

The Washington Parish Council met for a special meeting Thursday night, and councilmember Perry Talley said the parish got some good news for residents.

Along with FEMA’s help collecting debris around the community, the federal government has also authorized DSNAP benefits, formerly known as disaster food stamps, which are emergency food benefits to anyone who has lost income or suffered damages from the flooding.

Those benefits will be handed out next week. Residents who are already registered with SNAP will receive extra benefits automatically. Residents who are not registered to receive SNAP may pick up benefit cards next week. In Bogalusa, the benefits will be handed out at the American Legion building, and in Franklinton they will be distributed at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

According to the parish’s website, residents must pick up their benefits on certain days based on their last name. Those days are:

• Monday, March 21: A-D

• Tuesday, March 22: E-K

• Wednesday, March 23: L-R

• Thursday, March 24: S-Z

• Friday, March 25: A-K

• Saturday, March 26: L-Z

According to a press release on the parish’s website, “Applicants who are unable to visit a site on their designated day should go on one of the final two days specified.”

FEMA will have an office locally, but Talley said there is still no word on where that will be.

When they do set up shop, Talley said FEMA will be busy, as there is officially now more recorded damage in the parish after the flooding than after Katrina.

“So far there are 540 folks who have called in with damaged homes,” he said.

Talley added that anyone who has to repair their home due to flooding must get a building permit through the parish, though those permits will be issued free of charge.

Like Hall, Talley asks residents in the parish to move their debris to the curb over the weekend to prepare for removal Monday.

“They’re requesting, if at all possible that the damaged materials be moved to the curbside,” he said. “Exceptions would be made for people who are just totally unable to get it out there, the parish will try to make exceptions for that. Containers will be made available for certain areas for debris, if anyone wants to utilize the containers.”

The parish’s landfill telephone is still down, although the landfill is open.

Talley also noted that the parish is making good progress repairing damaged roads.

“We had 67 damaged roads and 46 of those are repaired,” he said.

Two state highways are still closed. Those are Louisiana Highway 450, which has a collapsed bridge between Highway 10 and Highway 440, and Louisiana Highway 1071, which also has a bridge collapsed between East Columbia Road and Layton Bluff.