NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently announced new funding to Vernon Parish totaling $122,739 for additional work necessary to help restore the community's Museum of West Louisiana.
The museum was originally established in 1987 with the purpose of exhibiting and preserving items illustrative of both the culture and history of Vernon Parish and the west central area of Louisiana. Additionally, the museum serves another role in safeguarding past resources, for it is located in a historic building that is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places – the KCS Railway Depot, built in 1916. This building was donated to the Police Jury for the purpose of establishing a museum for the area.
"During Hurricane Rita, the museum's roof and, consequently, interior walls, window moldings and floors were damaged," said FEMA's Louisiana Recovery Office Deputy Director of Programs Andre Cadogan. "FEMA's commitment to helping Louisiana recover extends throughout the state into communities like Vernon Parish, where federal dollars help repair damages and restore such valuable facilities."
FEMA's recent grant provided to Vernon Parish for additional work at the Museum of West Louisiana brings the agency's total obligation to date for this project to nearly $250,000.
"We are very grateful for the obligation of these funds by FEMA that will allow the Police Jury to finally begin to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Rita," said Vernon Parish Secretary/Treasurer Rhonda Plummer.
After the FEMA-funded repair work is complete, the museum will once again display noteworthy items including historical maps, prehistoric fossils, Camp Polk World War II related items, period clothing and household/pottery items from the late 1800s, as well as a baggage handling cart and repair yard/roundtable from the Leesville Railroad Station.
Overall, FEMA has obligated more than $2.2 million to date in Public Assistance funding for recovery work necessary to restore facilities throughout Vernon Parish affected by Hurricane Rita.
When FEMA approves projects through its supplemental Public Assistance grant, the funds are made available to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, who disburses them to the applicant for eligible work completed.
The Public Assistance program works with state and local officials to fund recovery measures and the rebuilding of government and certain private nonprofit organizations' buildings, as well as roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In order for the process to be successful, federal, state and local partners coordinate to draw up project plans, fund these projects and oversee their completion.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.