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Rita Response Draws Apology [A DEM apologizes, hell just froze over!!!] ^ | Mar 10, 2006 | By PATRICK COURREGES

Posted on 03/10/2006 10:07:04 AM PST by CajunConservative

Jeanerette lawmaker says he, legislators failed hurricane victims

Acadiana bureau

State Rep. Troy Hebert, D-Jeanerette, is spending his campaign fund money to spread the word that he and fellow legislators failed the victims of Hurricane Rita.

In comments Thursday, he said state government has focused on Hurricane Katrina almost exclusively, and the reasons might have more to do with voter base than need.

Hebert recently took out a large newspaper ad listing “meaningful legislation that the governor and Legislature passed to help Hurricane Rita victims.”

That heading is followed by a numbered column of five blank lines.

The ad went on to read, “The New Orleans area consumed the session. So once again we failed to provide the leadership and help that so many of our neighbors in southwest Louisiana need and deserve. I can only speak for myself, and I personally apologize to you and your families and promise to work harder so you are not forgotten.

“It’s no secret that I’m very disappointed that this area was ignored,” Hebert said of two special legislative sessions since hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit last fall.

He said that Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s administration and the Legislature concentrated on feel-good legislation aimed completely at the New Orleans area, to the detriment of Rita’s victims.

He said he doesn’t want to point fingers elsewhere, but is willing to admit that he should have done more.

“I apologized. I stepped up like a man,” Hebert said. “We, as a Legislature, failed, and I, as a representative, am a part of the Legislature.”

He did, however, raise the question of whether the higher population of New Orleans and its historic voting patterns might be the reason Rita’s victims have been left wanting.

“A lot of attention’s focused on New Orleans because there’s some politicians in this state that count on those votes,” Hebert said. “That’s a shame.”

Hebert said that because the heaviest damage from Rita fell in the more lightly populated Cameron and Vermilion parishes, where the people were more self-sufficient in rescuing themselves and starting clean-up, southwest Louisiana has been mostly ignored by state government.

He contrasted that self-sufficiency with the imagery surrounding New Orleans following Katrina, where people were seen waiting to be saved for days.

“The people helping themselves aren’t getting any help,” Hebert said. “The people who sat down and did nothing for themselves are the people who are now getting everything.”

He said that Katrina victims received extensions on food stamps and people who housed Katrina evacuees got federal tax breaks, while Rita victims and those who housed them were left in the cold.

“I was so frustrated, I felt I owed the people an explanation and an apology,” Hebert said. “I challenge anyone in Baton Rouge to come and tell me what we did.”

He said the Legislature concentrated on what to do about the governance of levees, a matter of little to no consequence on the southwest side of the state.

“There’s not a levee in Vermilion Parish,” Hebert said.

He said legislators and Blanco should have been devising a solid housing plan to make use of federal money available for that purpose.

“It’s like we’ve got this check from the federal government, but we haven’t even set up an account to put it in,” Hebert said.

That’s something he said he wants to do in the upcoming session.

Hebert said the antics of state government in the past six months have done nothing but reinforce the “Banana Republic” reputation Louisiana has fought to shake since the days of Gov. Huey Long.

He said that if the state had made a big point of working to help Rita victims, where people showed self-sufficiency and a will to work, the nation wouldn’t still be thinking in terms of the nightmarish conditions at the Superdome and people shooting at rescue workers.

“They just used to think we were a bunch of fools. Now they know we are,” Hebert said.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: katrina; louisiana; rita
Who woulda thunk it?

1 posted on 03/10/2006 10:07:07 AM PST by CajunConservative
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To: abb; alnick; AzaleaCity5691; bayourant; BerniesFriend; Bitsy; bigeasy_70118; Bogey780; ...
*Louisiana Ping List

If you would like on or off the Louisiana Ping list please FReepmail me and your name will be added or taken off of the list.

2 posted on 03/10/2006 10:07:40 AM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: CajunConservative

The apology was probably part of a fundraising letter sent to koolaid drinkers claiming that Bush lied and global warming caused Katrina.

3 posted on 03/10/2006 10:12:05 AM PST by appeal2
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To: CajunConservative

Is this "The Onion"?

4 posted on 03/10/2006 10:17:11 AM PST by My2Cents ("The essence of American journalism is vulgarity divested of truth." -- Winston Churchill)
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To: CajunConservative

That's OK, they fail the Katrina victims too!

5 posted on 03/10/2006 10:18:21 AM PST by wolfcreek
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To: appeal2
This legislator represents one of areas decimated by Rita. Many of his constituents lost everything from the storm surge and are simply trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. Everything has been all Katrina all the time here. I know because I live in the Rita impact zone.
6 posted on 03/10/2006 10:24:27 AM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: CajunConservative

I always appreciate it when someone claims and accepts responsibility, both good and bad.

But on another level, the thinking has gotten a bit skewed. The Gulf Coast is a hurricane zone, it has always been a hurricane zone, and it will always be a hurricane zone.

If you live there, you have a responsibility to be prepared both physically and mentally for a hurricane. And the responsibilities go up from there; each town, each county has a responsibility to be prepared, with equipment, supplies, shelters, communications, ready to go. This happens every year, after all.

The Gulf Coast states, at the state level, ought to have this down pat by now, considering that its always been this way.

FEMA was created to help make federal resources available, but instead its just become a convenient whipping boy for local officials to use, to absolve themselves of blame for what they didn't do, or what they didn't do quickly enough to satisfy either the circumstance or the perception.

And a lot of this is perception. You can mount the largest rescue in the history of the world, and it can be reinterpreted as too little too late, depending upon who does the measuring and against what standard.

7 posted on 03/10/2006 10:26:27 AM PST by marron
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To: My2Cents
Nope, it's probably someone young enough to see things more clearly than the typical dem. His district was devastated by Rita's storm surge and he's dealing with some frustrated people just trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. These folks are NOT the whiners from NOLA.
8 posted on 03/10/2006 10:30:53 AM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: marron

This side of the state does have it's act together but the issue is that NOLA and Katrina folks get major tax breaks and other assistance while those of us in the Rita area don't get the same level of help even though they have the same level of losses.

We aren't even discussing FEMA here but the state response to the two hurricanes. One gets the breaks that helps folks get back on their feet while the other get's basically the shaft. For example, my sister had a friend from New Oleans stay with her after the storm and my family evacuated to her house for Rita. She can get a tax credit for helping a Katrina evacuee but not for helping her own family even though we were under mandatory evacuation about the same amount of time.

We are extremely self sufficient in this part of the state but the state legislature went into a special session to address the needs of the state because of the two storms yet the only action taken pertained primarily to New Orleans. I am extremely thankful that we have competent local leaders here so it isn't as big of a problem however, this area is far from back on it's feet.

I don't guess you caught that he addressed the reason why and that was because of the voter block that keeps the dems in perpetual power. He also said that many of the state legislators were simply pandering to that base which by the way is scattered to the winds.

9 posted on 03/10/2006 10:47:11 AM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: CajunConservative

Thanks. Good post.

10 posted on 03/10/2006 10:48:32 AM PST by marron
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To: CajunConservative

A RINO in LIBS Clothing.

11 posted on 03/10/2006 11:17:26 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (To Serve Man......It's a cookbook!)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Doesn't it just make you want to scream when you read that statement "People who didn't do anything to help themselves, now get all the financial help"...there's the true liberal rant...Who is really down on the plantation, huh, Hillary?

12 posted on 03/10/2006 11:22:04 AM PST by princess leah
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Looks that way!

13 posted on 03/10/2006 11:24:50 AM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: CajunConservative

Hebert for Governor!!!!!!

14 posted on 03/10/2006 2:54:54 PM PST by daybreakcoming (If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. A. Lincoln)
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