BAYOU GAUCHE, La. — Being next to the water is one of the pleasures of life in Louisiana. But alarm is spreading over the potential for massive flood insurance hikes.
"It's my house," said tearful Bayou Gauche homeowner Lisa Taylor.
Robert and Lisa Taylor choked back emotion at the potential huge flood insurance rate increase they face, even though they live in a neighborhood that has never flooded.
"$28,554 and it can only mean one thing – foreclosure and bankruptcy,” Robert Taylor said.
"I don't know what we can do," added Lisa, still crying. "We can't afford $28,000 a year."
Robert Taylor gave 1,100 keys for homes and businesses that could be affected to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) to take to Washington as area leaders fight the increases.
"This is going to affect the real estate market, it is going to affect the banking industry," Jefferson Parish President John Young said.
"This is un-American and this is something that we cannot stand for," exclaimed St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom.
"People will have to abandon their homes, abandon their jobs," Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph warned.
"That is criminal," St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said.
"Losing is not an option with us. We have to be successful in this goal," noted Terrebonne Parish President Michele Claudet.
"If nothing is done, it will be devastating, but I think something is going to be done," New Orleans City Council Member James Gray said.
So they have an Action Plan.
"Put grandfathering back in so if you're like the Taylors and you did nothing wrong, you don't lose everything," said Greater New Orleans Inc. President Michael Hecht, describing a key part of the plan.
"This could potentially affect a lot of folks all around the country," Vitter said.
Now Louisiana leaders are reaching out to other states to form a national coalition to fight the flood insurance hikes. The Taylors have designed a website that explains the proposed federal flood insurance rate increases, and shows ways to join the fight against them.
It will be up and running Monday at www.floodact.com.