Federal and Louisiana officials are at each other’s throats over a shortfall in the Louisiana Road Home aid program, which was supposed to compensate Hurricane Katrina victims for flood damage, even where they didn’t have federal flood insurance. The program, stocked with federal money but administered in large part by the state, will come up an estimated $2 billion to $6 billion short. Why? Because Louisiana officials paid out the money not only for flood damage but for wind damage too, and there wasn’t enough to go around.
Louisiana officials are incensed that the feds aren’t necessarily ready to roll out a convoy of money trucks, and the reason they are incensed is because — you guessed it — they say the people have already been ripped off by the insurance companies that didn’t pay for wind damage, and now the federal government doesn’t want to pay for it either! Wait a minute, I thought the story line was that insurance companies had raided the federal Treasury by dumping all the wind damage onto federally backed flood policies. But I guess that story doesn’t sell if people didn’t have insurance at all, or if they had coverage that was less than the value of the wind damage.
Here is some of the action from a story in the Times-Picayune:
Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Andy Kopplin, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state agency that created the Road Home, were incensed by the latest federal rebuke of the program.
"It comes as no surprise to anyone in the administration that we believed our program should not discriminate between houses ruined by wind versus water," Blanco said Wednesday. "Insurance companies left many people shortchanged, and now our own federal government wants to do the same. I had hoped that we had grown past these evil political winds."
Setting aside for the moment the question of how one can grow past winds, evil or not, doesn’t this strike anyone as the last refuge of state authorities that have botched everything from the Katrina evacuation to managing the state-run insurer to handing out aid money? What’s next, are they going to blame their problems on Sasquatch, or as I believe some call him in Florida and possibly Louisiana, the Skunk Ape?
Here’s another story that is less accepting of the line from Louisiana officials, by Peter Whoriskey of the Washington Post.
Incidentally, if you follow the link above to the Sasquatch video, the authenticity of this has been questioned many times. I’ve watched this very closely, and it appears to me he is wearing a pair of white Keds sneakers. Doesn’t mean it’s not real, of course, but come on, his name is Bigfoot, where is he going to find a pair of size 36 shoes? In a big, tall and hairy men’s shop?