Disaster Recovery Resource Fair

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Southern University Law Center, the State of Louisiana, the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge Mayor-President’s Office, and others are hosting a Disaster Recovery Resource Fair for homeowners and renters who were impacted by the flood.

The fair will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Southern University Law Center, 2 Roosevelt Steptoe Drive in the A.A. Lenoir Hall, on Southern University’s campus. It will feature one-stop shopping for information and resources from a variety of federal, state, local and not-for-profit agencies to help residents in the recovery efforts. Participants will find information on the Shelter at Home program, flood insurance, foreclosure prevention, title issues and successions, disaster tax relief, loans, unemployment, housing counseling, legal services, and more.

The event is free and open to the public. American Sign Language interpreters as well as Spanish and Vietnamese language translators will also be available. Similar events are being planned in Ascension and Livingston parishes in the near future.

Mayor Holden would like to remind the citizens of Baton Rouge to verify that they are working with a licensed contractor in their construction or reconstruction efforts, and specifically to get a written plan of the contractor’s plan of work, including the materials and equipment they will use and how the debris will be removed.

The library continues to update the Disaster Recovery guide with information about Baton Rouge’s flood recovery resources.

For more information about the Disaster Recovery Resource Fair, call (225) 389-5350.

Flood Resources Update 9/21

The Food Bank continues to visit neighborhood distribution points to provide food to those in need. Times and locations are announced the day before on their website. Their warehouse has been repaired and sanitized, and they are in the process of moving operations back to the Fraenkel Center at 10600 S Choctaw Drive. Call them at (225) 359-9940 for more information.

The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge has put together a website on creative relief opportunities for local artists and community groups. This includes emergency grants from institutions like the Joan Mitchell Foundation and CERF+, as well as fundraising by Louisiana businesses and artists.

Expanded curbside debris removal began Monday, September 19th. To take advantage of the Private Property Debris Removal program, the debris must be within 30 feet of the public right-of-way, and residents must have sent in a signed Right-of-Entry form to the City-Parish. Debris removal is only available within limits of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. Forms can be turned in at the following locations, where they will be picked up by representatives:

  • PRIMARY LOCATION – Cypress Building, 10201 Celtic Drive, Suite B
  • Chaneyville Community Center, 13211 Jackson Road
  • Pride Library, 13600 Pride Port Hudson Road
  • Jewel J. Newman Community Center, 2013 Central Road
  • Charles R. Kelly Community Center, 3535 Riley Street
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, 4000 Gus Young Ave.
  • Jones Creek Branch Library, 6222 Jones Creek Road
  • Leo S. Butler Community Center, 950 E. Washington Street
  • Fairwood Branch Library, 12910 Old Hammond Highway

While the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch is still closed, our bookmobile will be out there from 10 AM – 5 PM today with outreach personnel and FEMA representatives to help answer your flood-related recovery questions. We’ve also recently acquired the Home Improvement Reference Center, a database chock full of do-it-yourself remodeling and repair information. It’s accessible anywhere there’s internet with your library card number.

The Recycled Reads used book sale will begin again this Saturday, September 25th, at our new(ish) location at 3434 North Boulevard.

Flood Updates 9/14

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden announced that the City-Parish will present daily televised debris removal updates on Metro Channel 21 starting Thursday, Sept. 15. The updates will be held Monday through Friday daily at 11:00 a.m. in the temporary Metro Council chambers on the ninth floor of City Hall, 222 St. Louis Street, and will feature Department of Environmental Services Director Karen Khonsari and the city-parish’s debris collection contractors. Each briefing will feature information about where debris is being collected that day, as well as information for residents pertaining to debris removal. Residents will also be able to view these daily video segments on the City-Parish’s website, located at http://www.brgov.com, and on the City-Parish Facebook page, located at http://www.facebook.com/cityofbatonrouge.

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is conducting neighborhood food distributions while their primary facility undergoes repairs. Locations and times change daily to reach different areas of the city. Distributions will resume on Friday, September 16th, and will be announced and verified the day before on their Neighborhood Distributions website.

The application deadline for a home or business repair loan from the Small Business Administration is October 13th. Complete your applications as soon as possible for full consideration.

Finally, all library hours and library services (except for usage of the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch) are back to normal. This means that at the Main Library, we’re open from 8 AM-10 PM M-Th; 8 AM-6 PM F-Sat; and 2-10 PM on Sunday. All branches are open from 9 AM-8 PM M-Th; 9 AM-6 PM F-Sat; and 2-6 PM on Sunday. The Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch remains closed for repairs.

Flood Resources Update 9/7

If you missed last week’s Flood Forum, conducted with various representatives of state and federal government and disaster response agencies, you can view a video playlist of the entire event on YouTube.

The Red Cross is accepting applications for limited financial assistance of up to $125 per person for those who do not qualify for federal disaster assistance, but sustained major damage to their homes. They are also working to connect flood survivors with other agencies and support structures that can help them get back on their feet. Registration is available online, or by calling 855-224-2590.

The New Orleans Opera Association, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and many other arts organizations of Louisiana have come together to stage a fundraiser for those affected in the Baton Rouge floods. The event will take place tomorrow, September 8th, from 7:30-9:30 PM, at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in New Orleans. Funds will be administered through the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge’s Creative Relief Fund, to benefit artistic, educational, and social support organizations throughout the city.

If your home still needs gutting, mucking out, or mold remediation, register online or by calling the Crisis Cleanup Hotline at 1-800-451-1954 and a representative from AmeriCorps will come to assess the damage. AmeriCorps will honor September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance this year by working in the Baton Rouge community, supplemented by community volunteers, in a “blitz muck-and-gut operation.” Sign up soon to get your house on the list.

Finally, your library update! Library hours at Main, Bluebonnet, Jones Creek, and Zachary through this weekend will be 8 AM – 9 PM M-Th; 8 AM – 6 PM F-Sat; and 2-6 PM on Sunday. This means that all branches except the Main Library on Goodwood have returned to their usual hours. The Greenwell Springs Branch remains closed for repairs. Interlibrary Loan is once more open for requests.

Help Special Collections Archive the Web

East Baton Rouge Parish Library is partnering with the Internet Archive’s Archive-it web archiving service to archive the resulting web presence of the Alton Sterling shooting which took place on July 5th, 2016 and the Baton Rouge Police mass shooting which occurred one week after on July 17th, 2016.  The purpose of the web archive is to capture relevant information regarding the events including the discourse surrounding it for future historians.

EBRPL Web Archive

Special Collections is heading this effort and is asking its fellow Baton Rougeans to contribute to the web archive by sending us links to news articles, video, blog posts, social media, photographs, and anything else you can find on the web.  You can do this by visiting the Baton Rouge Room Infoguide Web Archive or going directly to the web form. The infoguide will also provide more information about what a web archive is, the terminology used, and also provide links to some good examples of web archives created by other institutions.

We found it necessary to add the Louisiana Flood 2016 collection to the web archive.  We are asking the community to contribute any digital photographs, videos, or relevant sites to this collection as well.  A web form is available for submission of files or web links here.

We will also be archiving other sites relevant to the history of Baton Rouge such as governmental sites, community organization sites and social media pages, and any other that are recommended to us and fall with our collecting scope.  For more information or to ask questions, feel free to contact Emily Ward, Digital Archivist, at eward@ebrpl.com or you can call at 225-231-3752.

Flood Resources Update 8/29

As of Friday, August 26th, flood debris collection has begun from public rights-of-way in front of faith-based organizations, commercial entities, and homeowner associations, as well as private homeowners. If you need to know when debris collection will begin in your neighborhood, check the city-parish’s Flood Debris Collection Status GIS map, which is marked by zip code.

Landfill hours have also been expanded. The landfill’s new hours will be Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The US Small Business Administration is offering loans to business owners as well as homeowners and renters to repair homes and businesses and replace lost property. Home repair loans can be as high as $200,000; personal property replacement loans can be as high as $40,000. Interest rates are very reasonable. Please visit their web page on Louisiana Flooding Disaster Assistance and read the fact sheet to learn more.

Contradicting information regarding “Mold Free Certificates of Occupancy” is circulating through the community; FEMA and the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) have both stated that no such document is required before you reoccupy your home. For more information on mold removal requirements and concerns, check out WAFB’s article on the LSLBC’s recommendations.

The Louisiana Shelter at Home Program will provide up to $15,000 to assist people in restoring their homes to very basic living conditions. Funds will go to things like gutting walls, restoring electrical wiring, removing wet wall insulation, and providing up to $500 in cooking and refrigeration appliances. Funding will only sustain the absolute minimum necessary to get you back into your house while you work to restore it. To be eligible, flood water in your house cannot have exceeded 24 inches above the main floor of the living area of the house – but higher waters may be inspected and approved on a case-by-case basis.

If you still need help gutting your home, the following organizations have put together teams of volunteers to help muck and gut homes, along with other relief efforts.

  • BAPTIST ASSOCIATION OF SE LA: (985) 839-3827
  • NOLA TREE PROJECT: 504-415-8434
  • RED CROSS: 855-489-2528.
  • UNITED SAINTS RECOVERY PROJECT: projects@UnitedSaints.org or (504)383-5554 
  • OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL: 757.226.3401
  • ALL HANDS VOLUNTEERS: 225.236.6677 or louisianafloodresponse@hands.org.
  • REACH OUT WORLDWIDE: Contact Mike 859-408-1073 
  • ST. BERNARD PROJECT: (504) 277-6831 
  • HOPE MINISTRIES: 225.355.0702 
  • CATHOLIC CHARITIES: 225-376-6890 
  • NECHAMA: 763-732-0610
  • COMPASSION CORPS INTERNATIONAL AT ALL NATIONS FELLOWSHIP: (504) 330-5793 
  • EVACUTEERS: 504-517-3580

Crisis Cleanup at 1-800-451-1954 can help you request cleanup assistance from these and other volunteer agencies.

We will continue to post a weekly update on flood assistance resources and related information once a week until the information stops coming in. Stay dry, Baton Rouge.

Library Updates

All of Baton Rouge is working overtime to help reclaim our city, and the library workers are no exception. The schedule for this coming week will be:

  • 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday (except for River Center Branch, which closes at its normal time of 7 p.m.)
  • 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday
  • 2-6 p.m. Sunday, August 28 (plans for Main on Sunday, September 4, will be reviewed early next week).

The Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch will remain closed for the immediate future.

The Main Library on Goodwood has gotten some free two- and three-page fax cards to use with our public machine; they are available at the reference desk on the second floor. Staff are still available to send longer faxes with the staff fax machine.

The Outreach Department has been distributing donations and acting as a mobile internet/device charging station for the last few weeks, and will continue to do so. Many library systems from around the country have generously offered to help us rebuild the collections of the damaged libraries; Outreach is working with them and with library systems of the other affected parishes, and will create an Amazon wishlist when the full extent of the damaged items is known.

Thank you for your support, and know that we are proud to support you in return.

Flood Cleanup Resources

There are several places that have done their best to collect all information regarding the flooding in Louisiana into a central location. Some of the sites below are comprehensive in their coverage of the flooding and of flood support resources in the community.

  • WAFB’s list of assistance and relief information is an alphabetized collection of service organizations here and in New Orleans, and how to contact them for aid.
  • The Louisiana Flood 2016 site can be slow due to heavy usage, but in particular has a section on volunteer opportunities for people who want to give their time, but aren’t sure who to contact or where to start.
  • The library’s Disaster Recovery infoguide is updated frequently with additional links to information and resources.
  • The governor’s office has created a page of Resources for Flood Victims, which covers available state and federal aid sources for finding temporary housing, registering damages for FEMA, recovering your business, and more.
  • Flood Help Louisiana is a site designed to connect contractors, shelters, volunteers, food drives, and more with people who need them. People who have something to give can register what they’re offering, and people who need help can register to be connected with someone who can help them.

The National Guard has set up points of distribution (PODs) at the following locations:

  • Miracle Place Church  2080 Main St., Baker
  • Healing Place Church    19202 Highland Road
  • First Pentecostal Church  2828 Jones Creek Road 
  • Greenwell Springs Library 11300 Greenwell Springs Road Baton Rouge, LA 70809

These locations will be open from 8 AM-8 PM until further notice, and will be distributing MREs, bottled water, and ice. People who stop by to get supplies should stay in their cars while their items are loaded in.

Flood Support Events in Baton Rouge

Especially in times of crisis, it’s important to give yourself time to wind down. If you need a break this weekend, even if just for a few hours, lots of local organizations are stepping up to provide entertainment and a chance to rest your mind for a little while, while also donating to those who were affected by the flood. Here are a few:

  • Tonight at 7 PM, the Manship Theatre will have a free showing of Mel Brooks’s Spaceballs. The Manship will be showing free family-friendly movies, with free concessions, throughout the weekend, at showtimes of 10 AM and 1 PM. Donations of canned food will go towards flood relief.
  • Sistars of Empowerment is offering a Parent Support Session where children will be cared for from 10 AM-2 PM at the Main Library. Snacks and activities will be provided for the children. Registration is available through their website. (If you or your child need additional help dealing with stress in this difficult time, please call Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana’s Kidline at 1-800-244-5373. Lines are open from 8 AM-8 PM.)
  • At 10:45 AM, join Tread BR at The Overpass Merchant for a donation-based 45-minute workout. All proceeds will benefit the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Flood Relief Fund. Bring your own mat (or towel) and water, and then pack it up to go to:
  • the Fundraiser Under the Overpass. More than thirty local restaurants, breweries, and other local sponsors have come together to provide all you can eat food and drinks for a $25 minimum donation, which will also benefit the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Flood Relief Fund. They will also be accepting donations of basic supplies like bedding, toiletries, and clothes.
  • Sunday at 9 AM, yoga studios from all over Baton Rouge (including previous Business Person of the Month, Phi Nguyen, of Agame Yoga) will have a flood-relief class for a suggested minimum donation of $20.

If you want to volunteer, but aren’t sure how, a great way to start is by contacting your local church or civic organization. WAFB’s running list of assistance and flood relief information is a great way to identify area coordinators, such as Edge Church, Family Worship Center, and the Jewel J. Newman Community Center.

And as always, if you need something to read, something to watch, or someone to help you answer a question or find information, the library is always there. We’re on a temporarily adjusted schedule of 10 AM-6 PM today and tomorrow and will be open from 2-6 PM on Sunday, and the Digital Library is always open.

Library Storm Resources

All branches of the library that have not suffered storm damage will be open from 10 AM-6 PM through Saturday, and from 2-6PM on Sunday. The Baker Branch and the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch are closed for repairs.

Library workers are available to help you with FEMA documentation and other emergency response documents. We have recently created a Disaster Recovery Infoguide that contains information specific to this weekend’s flooding and will be updated as more information is released.

1.  www.disasterassistance.gov

This website is for people seeking Federal assistance from FEMA. There is a registration process. The contact phone is 1-800-621-3362. The FEMA “Applicant’s Guide to the Individuals & Households Program” is here:

help_after_disaster_english

Copies should be available at the information desk at your branch.

2.  www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=360

This website is for those seeking disaster assistance from the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It may be easier to Google Louisiana DSNAP to access the site. Again there is a registration process. The contact phone is 1-888-524-3578.

Typically initial information necessary to complete either of these registrations includes:

Name, social security number, and birth date for each household member
Parish where you currently live
Residential address
Monthly income for each household member
Liquid resources for each household member such as:
Cash on Hand
Checking Accounts
Savings Accounts
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Money Market Accounts

  • The final acceptance date for federal tax returns due after August 15th has been pushed back to January 17th, 2017.
  • The Advocate is publishing a running list of parish and state offices that are closed due to flooding, and their expected opening dates, if any have been published.
  • Louisiana DOTD is maintaining a frequently updated map of road closures and areas that are still flooded.
  • All open branches (again, that’s all of them but Baker and Greenwell Springs Road) are accepting donations of new socks in all sizes. Drop off your donations at the children’s desk of your local branch.
  • BREC is opening emergency camps for children who are unable to attend school. The camps will be located at Independence, Highland, Jackson, Zachary Community Parks and T.D. Bickham Park in Baker, for a price of $14 a day or $50 per week where closures are expected to last for a longer period of time.

We are proud to be serving the community of Baton Rouge in this difficult time, and proud of our place in Southern Louisiana.