Thursday, July 31, 2008

Louisiana Announces Critical Road Home Deadline in September

Louisiana Announces Critical Road Home Deadline in September

BATON ROUGE, La. (July 30, 2008) - Road Home applicants who have not decided whether they will rebuild or sell their homes, who have not returned necessary documents or who have not provided proof of occupancy must do so by September 5, 2008, the state of Louisiana announced Wednesday.

Affected homeowners are being notified by letters beginning this week. This deadline affects several groups of homeowners:

* 3,100 who have not completed and returned a "Benefit Selection Form," commonly called the "yellow letter;"
* 1,800 who have yet to provide documents proving they occupied their homes at the time of the storms;
* 3,000 who have yet to provide ownership documents;
* 500 whose files are missing other documents, such as social security cards.

"Though the Road Home has served more than 115,000 families since 2006, we have a few thousand who have not moved forward in the program. We want to help these homeowners take the next step toward receiving the rebuilding money they need, but we need their help to do this," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "Homeowners should know that while this September 5 deadline is a reality, we will have Road Home staff travelling the state hosting information meetings during the month of August to assist them with moving forward."

"We want each applicant to get the rebuilding money he or she is eligible for under the Road Home program, which is why these deadlines and this outreach is necessary. In our quest to improve customer service in the program as we move through its final year, we will be offering hands-on assistance to homeowners in the month of August to ensure that no homeowner who wants to continue to move forward is unable to do so," Rainwater said.

Each homeowner group will receive a letter outlining the action they need to complete by September 5, 2008. The largest group affected is those who have not yet notified the program of what they wish to do with their homes by returning a benefit selection form to the program. Homeowners have three options:

* Option 1 - To stay in their home and rebuild;
* Option 2 - To sell their home to the state and purchase a new home within the state of Louisiana.
* Option 3 - To sell their home to the state.

Several hundred homeowners who have not yet received their Benefit Selections Form will not be affected by this deadline. They will have a full 60 days from the time they receive their Benefit Selections Form to return it to the program and will be notified of such in a letter.

Homeowners who have not yet returned documents to the program have been notified multiple times in writing and by their Road Home representatives. Applicants with questions about which documents the program still needs from them should contact their Road Home representative or the Road Home hotline at 1-888-762-3252 (TTY: 1-800-566-4224).

In addition to the letters, the Road Home will host outreach sessions across south Louisiana during the month of August. During the sessions applicants can turn in documents, complete benefit selection forms and ask questions directly of program staff, without scheduling an appointment, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants should watch the newspaper for announcements of dates, locations and times for these outreach events. The Road Home will also send reminder post cards with information about outreach events.

Applicants with questions can contact the Road Home at 1-888-762-3252 (TTY: 1-800-566-4224) or go online to


Monday, July 28, 2008

What is that strange feeling?

I knew there was something wrong. I couldn’t understand the strange unusual feeling in my neck. My shoulder didn’t feel the same. Even my back felt different. What caused this? Why is my stress level so different? These were questions that I faced as the plane landed yesterday afternoon.

We’ve been to various ports on a cruise. Maybe I caught something in Barbados. I strongly suggest the flying fish (it is the specialty of the island cuisine). Maybe, the Cruzon (rum) Cool-aid caused a problem on St. Thomas. Elizabeth and I got the Cool-aid on a street corner, and are convinced it was the Virgin Islands version of moonshine. I felt o.k. later that night. While the drink made me see through time, very useful for a social studies teacher, it did not make me ill. Maybe it was the world famous banana daiquiri, that was world famous for being bland. We spent seven days in the southern Caribbean. We drank, and drank, and drank, and drank some more. On some of these excursions I would ask if there was food at whichever bar we were at, and the staff almost laughed at me. The highlights were St. Peter’s Great House on St. Thomas, Sunbury Great House on Barbados and the Ballahoo(sp?) restaurant on St. Kitt’s. The people we met were great both on the ship and on the tours. The physical issues I felt yesterday were not caused by the cruise. The cruise ended 2 weeks ago, it was wonderful, but its effects wore off already.

Our time in New Orleans was wonderful as always. While there is a lot of work to do, it appears that the Crescent City will come back with or without help from the feds. Cassie went to Storyland for the first time. She enjoyed it so much that my brother had to take her off the rides, over significant objection. She also learned to swim that week. My mother was nice enough to take care of Cassie for a week while we were on the cruise. We spent about a week total in the city. It was great to catch up a bit with friends and relatives. The coffee and doberge are still to die for. Thanks to everyone there, and we will be back in December. While the food was definitely heavier, I did not feel any ill effects after we got back.

We spent about a week in Miami, and then went to visit some of Elizabeth’s family in Texas. The idea of west Texas in late July did not inspire me at first. I knew that the people we were visiting would be fun, but the location and timing concerned me. Due to scheduling constraints however, this was really the only time we could go.

Honestly, I knew we would enjoy it, but I did not think that I would enjoy it that much. Who in the heck would go to Lubbock in July? The food was wonderful. I’m a native New Orleanian so when we went to the French Quarter Bistro I was hoping for the best. I have to say that the Roast Beef Po Boy was very good, as was the bread pudding. The food, in general, was very good. Not only was the food good but there was an amazing playground called Legacy Village. No matter where we went it seemed that people were just nicer to us, and each other, than we were used to. Everyone and everything was great in Lubbock. We met great people and had a great time.

I think I figured out what that feeling was… I missed about a month’s worth of news. What on earth was wrong with me. I was actually living my life rather watching other people live on MSNBC. Finally, to the young man that we met in the airport, shipping off to Iraq in August …. Be safe and thank you.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

McCain doesn't even think he is going to win

"Could I mention the presence of my friend, Congressman Steve Pearce, who I believe will be joining me in the United States Senate?"

-- Sen. John McCain, quoted by Politico, apparently planning to still be in the Senate next year.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I didn't realize how popular I was

As I left work in the 1st week of June, coworkers asked how I was going to spend my summer. I guess I've used my time wisely.