Central City Community Development Corporation





2016 Louisiana Floods
From: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Great Flood of 2016 

2016 Louisiana floods map of parishes declared federal disaster areas.png

In August 2016, prolonged rainfall in southern parts of the U.S. state of Louisiana resulted in catastrophic flooding that submerged thousands of houses and businesses. Louisiana's governor, John Bel Edwards, called the disaster a "historic, unprecedented flooding event" and declared a state of emergency. Many rivers and waterways, particularly the Amite and Comite rivers, reached record levels, and rainfall exceeded 20 inches (510 mm) in multiple parishes.

Because of the large number of homeowners without flood insurance that were affected, the federal government is providing disaster aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The flood has been called the worst US natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. 13 deaths have been reported as a result of the flooding.

Meteorological history

Early on August 11, a mesoscale convective system flared up in southern Louisiana around a weak area of low pressure that was situated next to an outflow boundary. It remained nearly stationary, and as a result, torrential downpours occurred in the areas surrounding Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Rainfall rates of up to 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) an hour were reported in the most deluged areas. Totals exceeded nearly 2 feet (61 cm) in some areas as a result of the system remaining stationary. Accumulations peaked at 31.39 inches (797 mm) in Watson, just northeast of Baton Rouge.

The Washington Post noted that the "no-name storm" dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina. It dropped the equivalent of 7.1 trillion gallons of water or enough to fill Lake Pontchartrain about four times. Hurricane Katrina, by comparison, dumped about 2.3 trillion gallons of rainwater in the state (though more in other states). The flood also dumped more water than Hurricane Isaac. According to the National Weather Service Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center, the amount of rainfall in the hardest-hit locations had a less than 0.1 percent chance of happening or was a (less than) 1-in-1,000-year event.


Flooding began in earnest on August 12. On August 13, a flash flood emergency was issued for areas along the Amite and Comite rivers. By August 15, more than ten rivers (Amite, Vermilion, Calcasieu, Comite, Mermentau, Pearl, Tangipahoa, Tchefuncte, Tickfaw, and Bogue Chitto) had reached a moderate, major, or record flood stage. Eight rivers reached record levels including the Amite and Comite rivers. The Amite River crested at nearly 5 ft (1.5 m) above the previous record in Denham Springs. Nearly one-third of all homes—approximately 15,000 structures—in Ascension Parish were flooded after a levee along the Amite River was overtopped. Water levels began to slowly recede by August 15, though large swaths of land remained submerged. Livingston Parish was one the hardest hit areas; an official estimated that 75 percent of the homes in the parish were a "total loss". It was thought over 146,000 homes were damaged in Louisiana. This mass flooding also damaged thousands of businesses.

Thirteen people have been confirmed dead as a consequence of the flooding. The latest, according to WBRZ, is an elderly woman in Livingston Parish. Parish officials confirmed her death. A man's body was found Wednesday on Whitehall Avenue in Denham Springs. Officials said they found a man in his 50's in the South Point subdivision off of Walker South. They added the man had no obvious signs of trauma, and the area he was found in had five-feet of water in it at one point. Of the other deaths, five people have died in East Baton Rouge Parish, three in Tangipahoa Parish, two in St. Helena Parish, two in Livingston Parish and one in Rapides Parish from the storms and their aftermath.

Evacuations and rescues

The widespread flooding stranded tens of thousands of people in their homes and vehicles. At least 30,000 people were evacuated by local law enforcement, firefighters, the Louisiana National Guard, the Coast Guard and fellow residents, from submerged vehicles and flooded homes. Many boat-owning residents of Louisiana and Mississippi, together with other volunteers, formed an informal rescue service known as the 'Cajun Navy' and navigated through flooded areas to answer calls for help that they received via social media. They rescued as many as a thousand people and pets and distributed emergency supplies. A group of 70 volunteers from St. Bernard Parish conducted hundreds of boat rescues in East Baton Rouge Parish. By August 15, approximately 11,000 people sought refuge in 70 shelters. Flash flooding swamped a 7-mile (11 km) section of Interstate 12 between Tangipahoa Parish and Baton Rouge, stranding 125 vehicles. At one point, an approximately 62-mile stretch was closed because of flooding concerns. State police and the National Guard utilized high-water vehicles to rescue trapped motorists, but many remained stuck for over 24 hours. A cellular network outage complicated rescues over the affected area. On August 12, a state of emergency was activated for the whole of Louisiana.


With an estimated 146,000 homes damaged in the flooding—characterized as the worst US natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012—thousands of Louisianians were forced into shelters, with more than 11,000 in state-operated shelters. This prompted an estimated 1,500 American Red Cross volunteers to travel to Louisiana, along with other groups to send volunteers such as Louisiana State University, the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Celebration Church, Grace Church of Central, and the Church of Scientology. There were media reports of one man who cooked 108 pounds (49 kg) of brisket for displaced people. The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals attempted to rescue stray pets, and the Second Harvest Food Bank and the United Way of Southeast Louisiana sent supplies and food. More than 109,398 individuals and households have registered for FEMA assistance. FEMA has approved $132 million for assistance.

Impact on school system

Since the start of the floods, around 265,000 children have been out of school, nearly 30% of the school-aged population in the Louisiana. The initiation of the school year has been difficult due to the direct damage many schools received, the damage of many teachers' homes, and the large amount of students in between homes after being displaced by the floods. There were reports that 6 schools were heavily flooded in East Baton Rouge Parish with another 15 in Livingston Parish. 

For the entire state, superintendent John White said that at least 22 schools had heavy damage and will need time to recover. There were also many school closures due to flooding in the Lafayette area as well. Transportation will also pose a challenge, as many kids were displaced from their homes and many school buses were damaged from flood water.

Many teachers' homes flooded, with 4,000 staff members' homes in Baker sustaining damage and another 2,000 in East Baton Rouge Parish. East Baton Rouge Parish schools announced they won't open back up until September 6, 25 days after school was originally canceled for the floods on August 12, the third day of school.

Economic impact

Because many of the areas that flooded were not in "high flood risk areas", the majority of homeowners affected by the flood did not have flood insurance. Across Louisiana, about 21% of all structures have coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program. Despite this, in many parishes that percentage is much lower. In St. Helena Parish, which was among the hardest hit parishes by the floods, less than 1% of all homeowners had flood insurance.

FEMA, which has stepped in to help homeowners without flood insurance, has declared these 20 parishes as federal disaster areas: Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington, and West Feliciana. Homeowners with damage from the floods in those parishes are eligible for up to $33,000 in federal disaster aid and so far around 102,000 people have applied for help. For business continuity and community rebuilding, private mobile flood recovery centers have also been made available, including a 10-piece modular building complex used in Baton Rouge by FEMA as a portable school for children of displaced families who moved north from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

National response

The national media has been criticized by many leaders in Louisiana for lack of media coverage of the floods, especially compared to other major natural disasters. This seems to have happened because of the heavy coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 U.S. presidential election, along with the fact that the storm did not have a name since it was not a tropical storm nor hurricane. In fact, the storm was not even a tropical depression, the lowest level a tropical system can have. The Times-Picayune expressed their frustrations in an article and noted that CNN and The New York Times had not covered the floods until late Sunday August 14, despite widespread flooding starting on August 12.

The Central City Development Corporation is a 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code Non – Profit that is designed to help the community of Baton Rouge, La recover from this devastating flood!

The Central City Community Development Corporation
P.O. Box 83564 - Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70884
(504) 460-4723
Email: e_j_scott@msn.com