Louisiana flood victims receive $95 million in compensation after 39 years

Louisiana families and businesses in Tangipahoa Ward are one step closer to paying compensation for 1983 flood damage caused by the construction of Interstate 12.

The $95 million payment was approved on Friday by the Legislative Joint Committee on the Budget, The Advocate reports. The committee’s actions allow money to be transferred to an escrow account and ultimately to 1,246 victims, 400 families and 96 affected businesses.

“This is the only final payment that resolves the entire litigation,” Administrative Commissioner Jay Dardenne said.

It is not yet clear when these payments will be made. The state had previously transferred $6 million to the plaintiffs’ account, bringing the total settlement to $101 million, the paper said.

Dardenne said he was confident the district judge would approve the payment, which would then allow the special administrator to decide how much individuals and entities are owed.

The rains of April 6, 1983 flooded about 6,000 homes in the Baton Rouge area. In Tangipahoa Parish, east of Baton Rouge, the newly opened I-12 acted as a large dam, diverting water from the Tangipahoa River to homes and businesses.

In 1999, a jury determined that the I-12 bridge across the river did not change the height of the river crossing as it should have, and awarded the plaintiffs $92 million. However, nothing happened for many years until the State Department of Transportation and Development filed an appeal and the Legislature refused to approve the award.

The final amount was agreed upon by lawmakers after negotiations with the administration of Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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