Livingston Parish students and teachers are looking forward to a year of normalcy as they begin classes today just days ahead of the one year anniversary of the August flood. School superintendent Rick Wentzel says crews worked extensively on 8 flood damaged campuses throughout the summer.
Three of those are complete, but five in the Denham Springs area will not be fully rebuilt for some time.
“Unfortunately because of the time element of the summer, we didn’t have enough time to complete the work,” Wentzel said, “So we’re strategizing and trying to put together a plan to move forward with completion of those projects hopefully by the end of next summer.”
That’s why three temporary campuses are still active. This year all students in the parish will receive free breakfast and lunch. Wentzel says the parish qualified for the program through the USDA because so many students were impacted by last year’s flood.
“We have a lot of families that are still not in their homes. Some are in their homes just not complete, there’s a lot of work. So as a result our school board decided that they wanted to continue that program to help our communities and help our parents,” Wentzel said.
Last school year got off to a devastating start, as much of Livingston Parish was under several feet of water. Homes, schools, and businesses alike were shuttered for what many felt like would be forever. Wentzel says after dealing with all of that, many students are ready for life to get back to normal.
“They’re excited to see their friends. The parents are excited for them to get back to school so they can continue doing what they need to do around their house knowing that their child is in a safe environment,” Wentzel said.