Billy Nungesser is Parish President in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana and serves with a passion for helping people and getting things done. He is not shy about moving to action and is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and pitch in, whether it is going to bat in Washington and Baton Rouge for the people of Plaquemines Parish or throwing sandbags to keep a neighborhood from flooding. Billy has been a man of ideas and action long before being elected Parish President however. He has a distinguished resume of service that goes back to 1983 when Governor David Treen appointed him to the Lake Pontchartrain & Maurepas Study Commission. In 1985, he served on the levee board and was awarded Crimestopper’s “Citizen of the Year” award. In 1986, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Republican Presidential Task Force. He also served on the Governor’s Advisory Board to the International Special Olympics. In 2004, as Chairman of the Plaquemines Parish United Way, Billy led a record breaking fund-raising campaign. The Nungesser team raised more than $237,000.00 for the people of this parish. Billy subsequently accepted the annual Leipzig Award for outstanding achievement. In 2004 and 2005, Billy worked diligently with other key leaders in Plaquemines Parish to form the Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry. He served on the Board of Directors throughout the organization’s formative years and remains involved as a charter member.
While working in the offshore catering business, Billy discovered an alternative use for metal ship containers. In 1991, Billy formed General Marine Leasing Company, delivering the first of its kind; business modified and outfitted containers that were specially improved for use as living quarters for offshore workers. Under his leadership, the company grew to employ more than 200 local workers and reached $20 million dollars in sales becoming the largest provider of portable buildings in the Gulf of Mexico.
Billy chose Pointe Celeste to build his home, where he developed a ranch to raise elk and cattle. Adjacent to his Elkland Ranch, he founded Pointe Celeste Therapeutic Riding Center. The center helps physically and mentally challenged individuals of all ages by offering horseback riding at no charge and bringing a therapeutic link that might have gone undiscovered if it were not for this connection. Billy has always believed in giving back to the community.
Sixteen months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated Plaquemines Parish; President Nungesser took office following a successful election bid. As Parish President he has worked closely with local, state and federal officials, receiving record amounts of capital outlay money as well as record amounts of state and federal grant monies for much needed infrastructure projects within the parish.
When he took office President Nungesser found that 400 Project Worksheets had been authorized by FEMA for a total value of $109 million dollars. He knew right away that this did not represent nor reflect the scope of damage Plaquemines Parish had sustained as a result of these two hurricanes. Billy immediately began working with FEMA and the Corps of Engineers and to date successfully worked in Washington with FEMA and the Corps of Engineers to increase that number to 500 Projects Worksheets, obligated and approved at 100% - for a total of $322,515,667.56. Appeals in Washington D.C. resulted in project increases and improvements such as authorizing construction of 5 new pumping stations which had previously been scheduled for repairs only and the original FEMA obligation of $400,000 to rebuild the Port Eads Marina that was eventually authorized by FEMA for $12 million dollars are just two of the success stories his work has produced. Hard work and persistence have resulted in a new water tower in the town of Buras and five brand new community centers throughout the parish of Plaquemines along with numerous other projects and improvements.
President Nungesser is determined to rebuild and restore Plaquemines Parish, not only to where she once was, but better than ever before. He believes it is only fitting that the “Gateway to the Nation” should be an economic and residential hub of the State and that the Sportsman’s Paradise State is more than adequately represented by the parish known as the “Fishing Capital of the World.” With the help of the good people of Plaquemines Parish he will complete that goal and accomplish that task.
What difference has a decade made?
Due to severe flooding in Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities, the recording of “Black & The Blue,” which was to be the August episode of Louisiana Public Square, was cancelled. Instead we will be broadcasting an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference.” More information, including broadcast dates and times, is below.
“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference”
Eleven years ago, Hurricane Katrina swept through Southeast Louisiana, triggering what would become the nation’s costliest disaster. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita inundated Southwest Louisiana forever altering the landscape. The storms uprooted residents, while the rest of Louisiana and its neighboring states welcomed them with open arms.
What affect did the storms have on economic development along the I-10 corridor? Just over a decade later, how have public services changed? How prepared is Louisiana to handle hurricane evacuees? And how did the hurricanes change the demographics of the state?
This month Louisiana Public Square takes a look at where the state is now on an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” airing Wednesday, August 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 21 at 11 a.m. on LPB HD.
The panelists are:
· Andy Kopplin, Office of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
· Paul Rainwater, Rainwater Consulting, LLC
· Stephanie Riegel, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
· Nihal Shrinath, The Data Center
The program includes interviews with Jason El Koubi, One Acadiana; Chris Guilbeaux, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP); Kathy Kliebert, Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals; Allison Plyer, Executive Director of the Data Center; John White, State Superintendent of Education; and Christopher Bohnstengel and “Byrdie” Lane, owners of Byrdie’s Gallery and Café in New Orleans.
LPB CEO, Beth Courtney, and Kim Hunter Reed,Ph.D., who served in the Blanco administration during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, moderate the discussion.
“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” will also air in New Orleans, on WLAE. It can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.
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