[StBernard] LRA Launches "Louisiana Gives Thanks" Campaign, Urges Public Participation

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Nov 13 22:00:52 EST 2007

LRA Launches "Louisiana Gives Thanks" Campaign

Public Urged to Sign Online Letter as Part of Campaign aimed at Washington, American People

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Recovery Authority announced today a public campaign to say "thank you" to members of Congress, President Bush and the American people for their support of the state's recovery from the devastating effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The "Louisiana Gives Thanks" campaign is designed as an easy way for Louisianians everywhere to voice their appreciation for the commitments that officials in the nation's capital have made on their behalf.

The LRA is joining Louisiana's elected officials and a growing list of supporting organizations to encourage the public to visit the Louisiana Gives Thanks website, www.lra.louisiana.gov/louisianagivesthanks <http://www.lra.louisiana.gov/louisianagivesthanks> , where they can sign a thank you letter <http://lra.louisiana.gov/images/thanks/LetterofThanks_final.pdf> to members of Congress and the President, thanking them for continuing to support Louisiana's ongoing recovery efforts. The deadline for signatures is Wednesday, November 21.

Also Tuesday, there will be a full-page advertisement <http://lra.louisiana.gov/assets/LouisianaGivesThanksRollCallAd.pdf> in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, thanking Congress for passing legislation last week that included $3 billion for the Road Home program and for authorizing the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Listed on the ad will be Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Governor-elect Bobby Jindal, members of the Louisiana Congressional delegation and organizations that are partnering with the LRA in the "Louisiana Gives Thanks" campaign. The website and advertisement are being funded through private donations to the LRA Support Foundation.

The website launch and ad placement will coincide with the start of the Governor and Governor-elect's thank you tour to Washington, where they will meet with Congressional leaders to express appreciation for their bi-partisan efforts in support of Louisiana's recovery.

"Last week's banner news was an answer to prayer for so many people who are fighting every day to rebuild their lives. We know they will want to join us in acknowledging the actions Congress took on their behalf," said Governor Blanco, an honorary chair of the campaign.

Governor-elect Jindal serves as an honorary co-chair, along with other members of the Louisiana Congressional delegation: Sen. Mary Landrieu, Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Richard H. Baker, Rep. James O. McCrery, Rep. William Jefferson, Rep. Rodney Alexander and Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. and Rep. Charlie Melancon.

Congress made two major investments in Louisiana's recovery last week. It put into law the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorized nearly $7 billion to restore critical hurricane and flood protection infrastructure in Louisiana. And it passed the Continuing Resolution attached to the Defense Appropriations Bill, making a $3 billion pledge to Louisiana homeowners to ensure they receive their Road Home grants to rebuild and recover. This appropriation, which the President is expected to sign, will cover 90 percent of the Road Home's projected $3.3 billion cash deficit. The LRA and Governor Blanco have worked with the Congressional delegation and Congressional leaders for months to secure the funding.

"The $3 billion toward the Road Home Program included in the defense funding legislation recently passed in the House and the Senate is a great victory for our state and a critical step in ensuring the federal government keeps its commitment to the people of Louisiana," Governor-elect Jindal said. "We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the American people and our government as they aid in the continuing recovery of thousands of Louisianians. Many people have put their lives on hold, waiting to rebuild on the promise that they will receive the recovery funds they need. We must do everything we can to make sure this promise is kept.

"This funding toward the Road Home Program along with the override of the President's veto of WRDA - which works toward securing $3 to over $7 billion in hurricane protection and coastal restoration - is a vital step in advancing our state's recovery and strengthening our future. Additionally, these victories show that Louisiana's leaders are committed to working together, and I want to express my personal thanks to Governor Blanco and every Louisiana member of Congress, from every party and every part of our state - all of whom voted for this legislation. We are united by our dedication to helping our state and that common commitment will continue to benefit Louisiana for years to come," he said.

Several organizations have joined the "Louisiana Gives Thanks" campaign. They include the African American Leadership Project; America's Wetland; Baton Rouge Area Chamber; Center for Planning Excellence; Citizens Road Home Action Team; Community Foundation of Acadiana; Fleur de Lis Ambassadors; Friends of New Orleans; Greater New Orleans Community Data Center; Greater New Orleans, Inc.; Greater New Orleans Foundation; Jefferson Chamber of Commerce; Jeremiah Group; La. 1 Coalition; Levees.org; Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation; Louisiana Family Recovery Corps; LouisianaRebuilds.info; Louisiana Speaks; Louisiana Serve Commission; NewOrleansBlack.com; New Orleans Chamber; NewOrleansOnline.com; New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity; New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce; Office of the Lt. Governor; Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance; St. Bernard Economic Development Commission; St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce; and Urban League of Gr! eater New Orleans; and Women of the Storm.

"As Thanksgiving approaches, we want to show members of Congress, the President and the American people how much we appreciate their continued support. We know that Louisianians everywhere will want to join us in the effort," said David Voelker, a member of the boards of both the LRA and the LRA Support Organization.

The Lieutenant Governor's Office oversees the Louisiana Serve Commission, whose mission is to coordinate volunteer efforts, national service and Americorps activities across the state.

"The people of our state are particularly thankful to the volunteers and faith-based organizations that have taken part in the rebuild of the Gulf Coast. In all, more than 500,000 have volunteered," Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu said. "The American spirit of service has rekindled hope in Louisiana - fueling our recovery and helping a piece of American soil stand up."

To sign up your organization as a partner in the Louisiana Gives Thanks campaign, contact christina.stephens at la.gov <mailto:christina.stephens at la.gov> .

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.


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