Wallis Watkins is a Baton Rouge native. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from Louisiana State University in 2013. Soon after, she joined WRKF as an intern and is now reporting on politics for Capitol Access and science and health for Louisiana's Lab.
When the flood waters rose in August, one zip code experienced some of the worst damage in East Baton Rouge. New Byrd Station, 70805. This neighborhood, like many, is still trying to recover - but as Wallis Watkins reports, residents are facing some unique challenges.
An active day at the Capitol Tuesday began with the House Ways and Means committee taking up HB 632 by Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter. The bill aims to increase the gas tax in Louisiana by 17 cents. Along with Department of Transportation Secretary Sean Wilson, Representative Carter stressed the additional money would be dedicated solely to infrastructure.
Last week, a plan to try and fund the Comite River Diversion project out of the 2016 flood recovery money created a debate on the House floor. The plan was brought by Denham Springs Representative Valerie Hodges.
Of the $1.6 billion Congress has appropriated for Louisiana’s flood recovery efforts, $1.3 billion is dedicated to homeowners. In the August flood alone, the Small Business Administration has approved nearly as much in disaster loans to repair flooded houses. But as Wallis Watkins reports, some homeowners feel getting that help has put them at a disadvantage.