Red Cross won't open Kenner relief site Tuesday

The American Red Cross will open a relief center in Kenner sometime next week at a site to be announced, officials said Sunday.
Erroneous reports have been issued about a Red Cross Relief Site opening in Kenner on Tuesday, officials said.
The city of Kenner, the Red Cross, Jefferson Parish, the National Guard, The East Jefferson Levee District and Louis Armstrong International Airport have been working to open such a site in Kenner.
Kenner city contractors are working to prepare the site, traffic and security issues are being worked out and it’s hoped an announcement about opening of this center will be made in the next day or so, officials said.
As soon as the date and time are worked out, the City of Kenner will make the announcement along with the Red Cross and Jefferson Parish.

Cathedral sets weekend Masses

After celebrating the first Mass held at St. Louis Cathedral since Hurricane Katrina, Archbishop Alfred Hughes announced Sunday that weekend Masses will be said Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m at the historic church.
“I welcome you back and we will move forward,” Hughes said.

Kenner relief site to open Wednesday

A Red Cross relief site will open in Kenner Wednesday at 9 a.m. and remain open to 7 p.m. The site is on Airline Highway near Lesan Drive.

An earlier news release by the Red Cross incorrectly indicated the site would be open Tuesday.

Jefferson Parish school information

With Jefferson Parish public schools reopening Monday, here is a final rundown of important details. For more information, call 1-866-563-6559 or visit

1. Five schools are too damaged to reopen: Terrytown, Woodmere, Lincoln and Alexander elementary schools as well as John Martyn School. Those students will instead be shifted to other schools, where they will share the building and run on different schedules:

Alexander students should report at 9 a.m. to Greenlawn Elementary, 1500 38th St., Kenner.
Lincoln students should report at 9 a.m. to Butler Elementary School, 300 Fourth St., in Westwego.
Terrytown students should arrive at 8:40 a.m. at Boudreaux Elementary, 950 Behrman Highway in Terrytown.
Woodmere students should report at 7:45 a.m. to C.T. Janet Elementary, 2500 Bent Tree Lane, Marrero.
Martyn students should report to Riverdale High School, 240 Riverdale Drive in Jefferson.
Parents should drop off and pick up their children on the first day.

Students at Lafitte Elementary and Grand Isle School should call the school to see if classes will resume Monday. Both storms suffered damage from Katrina and Rita, and system administrators said a Monday reopening could be delayed.

2. The School Board approved a revised school year calendar, which adds an hour to the school day beginning Oct. 10. For the first week of school, classes will follow their pre-Katrina schedules.

The revamped calendar:
Oct. 3, Reopening of schools
Oct. 10, First day of extended classes
Nov. 17, End of 1st marking period
Nov. 21-25, Thanksgiving holiday
Dec. 2, Report cards issued
Dec. 5, Parent conference day (half day for elementary and high schools)
Dec. 6, Parent conference day (half day for middle and special schools)
Dec. 19-Jan. 2, Winter vacation
Jan. 3, School resumes
Jan. 16, MLK holiday
Jan. 17, Staff development day, no school for students
Feb. 3, End of 2nd marking period, records day, no school for students
Feb. 13, Report cards issued
Feb. 27-March 1, Mardi Gras holiday
March 20, Standardized testing week
April 6, End of 3rd marking period
April 13-17, Spring vacation
April 18, School resumes
April 19, Report cards issued
April 20, Parent conference day (half day for elementary and high schools)
April 21, Parent conference day (half day for middle and special schools)
June 1, Last day of school

3. The system is requesting a waiver from the state that would temporarily eliminate the system’s obligation to allow students in low-performing schools
to transfer to higher-performing schools. Fifteen Jefferson schools had to offer “school choice” this school year, an option taken by about 500 students.
Because of lingering enrollment uncertainties, those plans are on hold while the system waits for a response from the state.

4. Students will not be required to wear school uniforms, at least temporarily. Lunches will be free for students.

5. Students who did not enroll during last week’s registration process are still encouraged to attend school Monday. They will able to register on-site. The
system had asked students who are new to the parish or who have relocated within Jefferson to register.

*For students coming to Jefferson from outside parishes, the system has assigned them to specific schools. Hub bus stops have also been created for
these students. The assignments are:

East Bank of Orleans Parish: Ella Dolhonde Elementary in Metairie; J.D. Meisler Middle in Metairie; and Riverdale High School in Jefferson.

Orleans Parish magnet school students: Riverdale High School in Jefferson; Metairie Academy; and V.C. Haynes Middle in Metairie.

Algiers: George Cox Elementary in Gretna; Livaudais Middle in Terrytown; and West Jefferson High in Harvey.

Plaquemines Parish: George Cox Elementary in Gretna; Livaudais Middle in Terrytown; and West Jefferson High in Harvey.

St. Bernard Parish: Ella Dolhonde Elementary in Metairie; J.D. Meisler Middle in Metairie; and Riverdale High in Jefferson.

East Bank of St. Charles Parish: Audubon Elementary in Kenner; Ralph Bunche Middle in Metairie; and Bonnabel High in Kenner.

West Bank of St. Charles Parish: Live Oak Manor Elementary in Westwego; Henry Ford Middle in Avondale; and L.W. Higgins High in Marrero.

Beware of contractor fraud

The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness urge victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to look out for scam artists. You are probably in need of a reputable contractor to help with repair and restoration. Inevitably, the demand for qualified contractors will exceed the supply. The demand for contractors and home repair may be an opportunity for home repair rip-off artists that may overcharge, perform shoddy work or skip town without finishing your job.

Because of the extent of damages from the Katrina and Rita disasters, many legitimate licensed home-repair companies can be booked solid for months. Frustrated and anxious homeowners and landlords, eager to get their property back in shape, may neglect to take the usual precautions when hiring contractors. As a result, some consumers will find that they've hired help that will be no help at all. Consumers need to be aware of the risks of hiring part-time contractors, contractors from surrounding areas, inexperienced contractors, and all too often, just plain crooks, who are out to make a fast buck.

FEMA offers the following tips for consumers facing major repairs after a disaster hits home:
•Deal only with licensed and insured contractors. You can verify a contractor’s license by visiting the State of Louisiana’s internet site at You may also check with the Better Business Bureau, local homebuilders association, or trade council to see if any complaints have been lodged against the contractor.
•Check references and get recommendations. Any contractor should be willing to provide references from previous customers; a few calls could save you a great deal of grief and time. Ask friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, insurance agents, or other people in your community whom you know and trust, for their recommendations.
•Ask for proof of insurance. Make sure the contractor carries general liability insurance and worker’s compensation. You might be liable for any accidents that occur on your property if the contractor does not carry proper insurance.
•Insist on, and take your time about, signing a contract. If you can, compare services and prices before making a final decision. Get a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made. Remember to ask if there's a charge for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home; the cost of a written estimate is often applied to the price of the repairs. Ask for explanations for price variations, and don't automatically choose the lowest bidder. Get a copy of the final, signed contract before the job begins. Do not sign a blank contract or one with blank spaces.
•Get any guarantees in writing. Guarantees promised by the contractor should be written into the contract and should clearly state what is guaranteed, who is responsible for the guarantee, and how long the guarantee is valid.
•Ask a knowledgeable friend, relative or attorney to review a home repair contract before you sign. If you get a loan to pay for the work, be cautious about using your home as security. If you don't repay the loan as agreed, you could lose your home. Consider asking an attorney to review the loan documents, as well.
•Obtain a local building permit if required. Permits may be required for site work, demolition, or reconstruction. Contact your local government for permit information.
•Resist dealing with any contractor who asks you to pay for the entire job up front. A deposit of one-third of the total price is standard procedure. Pay only by check or credit card, and pay the final amount only after the work is completed to your satisfaction. Don't pay cash.
•Consider purchasing the materials and supplies for the repair job yourself. By doing this, you can be sure the cost is accurate and you get the quality you want.
•Be ready to take your time. You may be desperate to get back into your home, but you may be better off in the long run if you take your time, make sure your home is safe, and work with a reliable contractor, even though it make take some time to schedule your repair.

Consumers should also be aware that some rip-off artists may pretend to be employed by FEMA or other agencies. Some traits of scams or con artists can include:
•Lack of proper identification – A FEMA or Small Business Administration (SBA) shirt or jacket is not absolute proof of someone’s affiliation with an agency. Ask to see the laminated photo identification card; if they don’t have it, they are probably not for real.
•Going door-to-door – Persons going door-to-door to damaged homes, or phoning victims, and claiming to be building contractors could be frauds. If they solicit personal information such as social security or bank account numbers they are not for real. FEMA inspectors may come to your neighborhood but all FEMA inspectors will have proper, laminated, photo identification. Remember, FEMA and SBA inspectors never charge applicants for disaster assistance or for inspections. If in doubt, do not give out information.
•Charging fees to be put on a list or fees to have forms filled out – Some scammers have asked for upfront money to be put on a list or demanded fees to fill out the disaster loan application.
•Offers to increase the amount of your disaster damage assessment – This is not wise and is a sure sign of a scam.

FEMA update

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, in conjunction with other federal agencies, continues to respond to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

•Nationwide, there are 863 shelters housing 95,316 evacuees of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita nationwide.

•The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Nutrition Service continues delivering food and facilitating delivery of nutrition assistance programs in affected states. Since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, 13.1 million pounds of commodities and two million pounds of baby formula and other baby foods have been obtained or purchased from existing sources. Approximately 5,480,000 pounds of commodities have been ordered to meet the needs of Hurricane Rita victims.

•To date, more than 1.9 million individuals and businesses have registered for disaster assistance from FEMA.

•FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Operations for the State of Louisiana were completed Sept. 30. The search and rescue teams helped 6,582 people reach safety and searched 22,313 structures in New Orleans and additional structures in Louisiana parishes impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to find those trapped or stranded.

•The Army Corps of Engineers has hauled 6,074,271 cubic yards of debris from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

•A total of 35,782 Department of Defense personnel are supporting relief operations for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Mosquito spraying begins in Cameron and Beauregard

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has developed a management plan in anticipation of the hatching of mosquitoes
and flies due to the massive flooding in the area. Mosquito control is
needed to protect public health from nuisances and diseases transmitted
by mosquitoes, as well as flies.

DHH in coordination with Louisiana Department of Agriculture and
Forestry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic
Substances & Disease Registry, U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies,
Department of Defense and in consultation with parish mosquito control
districts is implementing a plan to reduce mosquitoes and flies in the areas
affected by Hurricane Rita.

Aerial application of routinely used pesticides, primarily Naled, in
Cameron parish began today and will continue in Beauregard
parish in the next few days. The spraying will occur during the last 2-3
hours of daylight. The U.S. Air Force will conduct the aerial applications
to assist mosquito control activities normally conducted by parish and
local mosquito control districts.

The spraying will use the same pesticides as routinely sprayed to
control mosquitoes in the south Louisiana region. “The timely initiation of
preventive measures to control mosquitoes and flies is necessary to
reduce the risk of vector-borne diseases” said Dr. Cerise.

Naled is a pesticide routinely used by mosquito control districts in
Louisiana. Naled is approved by EPA and will be applied according to that agency’s application rates. Studies have shown that Naled does not impact on human health or the environment when used for mosquito control.

The plan will continue based on field monitoring of mosquitoes and
flies in the region.

For more information call the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and
Forestry’s pesticide hotline at 225-925-3763.