NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today approximately $2.1 million in additional funding to the Louisiana Office of Facility Planning and Control for Katrina-related repair work and mitigation measures at Southern University at New Orleans’ Leonard S. Washington Memorial Library.
The library, which is owned by the state as is SUNO’s other buildings, is operated and maintained by the university. During Katrina, approximately a third of the 61,587-square-foot, three-story facility was significantly damaged by water-related intrusion. The first floor of the Washington Memorial Library incurred 4 feet of floodwaters, and the second and third floors sustained water that entered from roof damages.
“The Washington Memorial Library repair project will result in the restoration of an integral part of SUNO’s campus,” said FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office Deputy Director of Programs Andre Cadogan. “Additionally, the library’s restoration is distinguished in that it includes several hazard mitigation measures, enabling the facility to be more resilient in the event of future storms.”
Including this grant, FEMA has provided approximately $5.6 million in total to FP&C for repairs at the library. Of this funding, $2.9 million was provided by FEMA as “406 mitigation” in support of utilizing cost-effective construction measures to enhance the facility’s ability to resist similar damages in the future.
“Most notable and soon-to-be noticeable perhaps will be the ‘floodwall’ that will encircle the library, allowing only minimal amounts of potential floodwaters to intrude,” added Cadogan.
The new floodwall will be incorporated into the outside of the first-floor exterior wall. It will stand more than four feet in height and will be reinforced to sustain the pressure of flood-waters to its maximum height.
“Secretary Janet Napolitano and Senator Mary Landrieu are to be commended for their continued leadership and assistance to ensure that SUNO fully recovers, especially as it relates to restoring the library, a vital component of the institution. Our students, faculty and staff look forward to seeing construction of this important building completed,” said Victor Ukpolo, Ph.D., SUNO’s chancellor.
In general, for all recovery efforts at SUNO, FEMA has provided approximately $120.7 million to date in public assistance funding to both FP&C for SUNO facility damages and to the SUNO for contents replacement.
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.