Governor Jindal Travels to North Louisiana to Meet with Local Emergency Response Officials and Provide Update on Recovery from Severe Weather BOSSIER CITY – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Director Mark Cooper, State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson and Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard Major General Bennett C. Landreneau for a meeting with local emergency response officials at the Bossier Parish Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to get the latest assessment of damage caused by the severe weather event, offer any additional resources and highlight next steps to help ensure a quick recovery. Governor Jindal said, “We’re continuing to work hand-in-hand with local parish and city officials to make sure their response and recovery needs are met. We know we have to be fast – and as always – we must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We did that with the two hurricanes last year and with the severe weather event here this week, and we will do it the next time we are in an emergency. We’ve mobilized a number of state agencies and we stand ready to assist local officials in any way.” Red Chute Levee and State and Local Action Governor Jindal said the most immediate concern is the rising flood waters resulting from the rain that is overtopping the Red Chute Levee in some places. The Red Chute Levee comes off of the Red Chute Bayou, which is fed by Cypress/Black Bayou. The Red Chute Levee is a local levee, and is part of the Bossier Parish Levee District. However, there are some federal Army Corps of Engineers personnel on the ground providing technical assistance to help ensure the stability of the levee walls.Governor Jindal reported that the Red Chute Levee held overnight and the water is now leveling off and even beginning to drop in some areas. Bossier Parish Sheriff Larry Deen ordered voluntary evacuations in northeast Bossier Parish yesterday in response to concerns about the levee. Local estimates report that about 2,500 people – which is roughly half of that area – have voluntarily evacuated at this time. The evacuation order is still in effect and Sheriff Deen does not expect to ask residents to return to that area until there is no longer a threat of flooding due to a possible breach in the levee. Louisiana Downs also voluntarily closed at 1 AM this morning due to the risk of flooding there – and they expect to reopen once there is no longer a threat of flooding. The parish has been working alongside the National Guard and other emergency responders to wrap the levee in plastic wrap at the top, which helps to prevent the water from eating away at the sediment in the levee as it washes over the top in some places. The Department of Corrections (DOC) sent 100 inmates to work alongside the National Guard to help secure the levee. Additionally, the Department of Corrections has offered to send 400 more inmates to help on the levee. GOHSEP has had a team of emergency responders on the ground in the area since last Wednesday in anticipation of the weather in order to help local and parish officials prepare for and respond to the severe weather event and now the rising floodwaters. Currently, GOHSEP has six personnel on site and has provided 100,000 additional sandbags this morning. The National Guard has approximately 400 guardsmen supporting the emergency response operations. Specifically, 200 Guardsmen are conducting levee support operations. The National Guard has also sent a total of 48 high water vehicles to assist the emergency response operations, including eight high water vehicles providing transportation and evacuation support to parish emergency responders and ten high water vehicles standing by for search and rescue support. The remaining high water vehicles stand ready to assist if needed. Storm Damage and Federal Assistance: Yesterday, GOHSEP staff and the National Guard joined several local officials for an aerial survey of the damage and noted it was more widespread than previously expected. Governor Jindal said Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) teams will begin work as soon as emergency response functions transition into the recovery phase and there is no immediate threat to life and property. The Governor said that based on the damage that officials have already surveyed, the state does expect to ask FEMA to perform damage assessments in order to apply for federal disaster assistance. Governor Jindal also issued an Executive Proclamation on Friday, October 30th, declaring a State of Emergency for the entire state in order to assist in the deployment and staging of state assets to support affected parishes in responding to the emergency. Additional State Action: GOSHEP prepositioned a team at the Ouachita Parish Emergency Operations Center (EOC), consisting of three support personnel, a communications unit, and two communications technicians. The State Fire Marshall is assisting Caddo and Bossier Parishes with any search and rescue support needed. They have also moved equipment and personnel to the area. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has prepositioned agents and boats in North Louisiana for any search and rescue efforts. They are also assisting in damage assessments of roads in Northwest Louisiana and are embedded in Ouachita as well.