"What's in a name", the poet and playwright William Shakespeare once wrote. Well, in some instances "a name" could be thousands if not millions or billions of dollars. Of course Shakespeare probably never wrote sonnets about FEMA, federal aid, or hurricanes. But if he did, he'd sure have a lot of fodder for ironic tragedy.

The irony I am speaking of in this case has to do with names in a couple of ways. For example, the difference in your homeowner's insurance deductible and your homeowner's insurance "named storm deductible" would have probably caused enough frustration for The Bard to inject his quill into the heart of his own bosom.

That's one way "a name" can mean the difference between thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of dollars. Then there is the current federal assistance "waiting game" all of us in Acadiana are playing right now. Namely, when is Hurricane Delta going to officially be declared a disaster by the federal government?

So far it hasn't been. That means millions if not billions of dollars in federal aid are simply standing at the ready. Unable to be used because a government official hasn't signed off on a piece of paper.  It's like standing knee-deep in a river and dying of thirst. 

A disaster declaration for Hurricane Delta would open up the flow of federal money to help residents recover from the storm faster. Now, remember, FEMA is not your one-stop fix-all. FEMA is simply a piece of the puzzle. Their mission is to help get people in a safe position to begin the recovery process.

Just so you know, Hurricane Laura wasn't officially declared a disaster until two days after the storm had passed. So the fact that a declaration hasn't come down for Hurricane Delta just yet is a concern but the delay isn't totally unexpected.

I expect that declaration could come as early as today and most certainly some time this week. But there's something else you'll want to know. If you've already registered with FEMA for Laura, you'll need to do it again for Delta.

KPLC Television out of Lake Charles published a report with specific details on what you'll want to know if you were affected by both storms.

  • Those who experience damage from Hurricane Delta must register again with FEMA
  • FEMA will not pay for duplicate losses but may provide help for new damage caused by a second disaster.
  • FEMA verifies disaster-caused damage by comparing inspection reports, appeal estimates, and receipts.
  • FEMA is aware of which households applied for help in Hurricane Laura. If the household applies for help after Hurricane Delta, FEMA will work with the applicant.
  • FEMA will coordinate with homeowners who report additional damage to their primary home and then experience loss at the temporary residence where they relocated due to Hurricane Laura.
  • Renters who report additional personal property damage due to the new disaster should apply using their location at the time of the second event.

One more nugget for you. Pretend this is The People's Court TV show. Make sure you have saved every receipt for expenses incurred during the storms. This could mean everything from food and water to generators and tape. You could be eligible to have those expenses reimbursed by FEMA. Well, if Delta is declared a disaster.