FEMA denies tornado assistance appeal
By: Paul Kedinger
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified city officials last Thursday that their appeal for personal assistance funds to aid victims of the March 5 tornado was denied.
“It looks like we’ve have to go it alone,” Cheryl Richard told members of the Rayne Long-Term Recovery Coalition meeting Tuesday morning at the Rayne Chamber office.
Case Manager Rhonda Trahan reported the community meeting held at the Civic Center recently answered many lingering questions for victims of the tornado.
She reported she has completed 34 intake interviews for assistance and is “booked up” with interviews for the next two weeks.
Brian Mouton said members of Rayne Disaster Relief, Inc. have been visiting with tornado victims in their homes and urging them to contact Case Manager Trahan.
Mouton also reported the non-profit organization will stage its own benefit concert on June 5 in the Frog Festival Pavilion.
Following the meeting, Trahan met with the Unmet Committee of the Coalition to present her first request for financial assistance.
The Coalition will distribute donations for house repair supplies and contract manpower. Volunteers are currently repairing a house located near the intersection of Section and Martin Luther King. Funds will not be distributed directly to the victims.
Chad Landry, grand knight of Knights of Columbus Council 1897, reported the Musique Relief concert generated tens of thousands of dollars in gate receipts and corporate donations. He noted a radio station donated over $8,000 in free airtime to promote the benefit concert. He reported over 1,500 spectators attended the concert.
Expenses from Sunday’s concert must be paid before a final total is known, said Landry. He added that the fact that all donations would be turned over to the Coalition’s disaster relief fund, established at Rayne State Bank in an account supervised by United Way of Acadiana, made it easier to secure sponsorships.
He also announced that a house, valued at $20,000, has been donated and that Wingate Moving has offered to move the building free of charge.
Landry also reported the local KC Council is in contact with country and western musicians in planning for another benefit concert.
Cheryl Richard, a member-at-large, told fellow Coalition members officials with O’Reilly Auto Parts have told her they plan to make a donation to the relief fund at the re-opening of the store damaged in the tornado on June 1.