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Thanh Truong
Email: ttruong@wwltv.com

NEWORLEANS-- One by one, federal national parks employees at the French Quarter Visitor Center walked out of the office, furloughed, thanks to the partial government shutdown and the political battles between Democrats and Republicans that triggered it.

'We'd all rather be working because we really like our jobs taking care of America's treasures but we also understand that these things happen,' said public affairs specialist Kristy Wallisch, who was furloughed as well.

Wallisch says 64 of 69 local national parks employees will be out of work indefinitely. Exactly when the employees will be able to get back to work will be up to lawmakers in Washington, DC and whether they can compromise on fiscal issues and the Affordable Care Act, which is often referred to as Obamacare.

The partial shutdown, of course, hits multiple federal agencies. At the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse, practically all of the 1,900 civilian employees on base are now on furlough. The remaining 5,000 employees who remain are deemed essential to security and safety.

Doug Ledet can empathize with those civilian employees. He is a federal contractor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He got his furlough notice Monday.

The timing couldn't be worse. Ledet recently moved into a home on the West Bank believing he'd have the money to upgrade from an apartment into a house.

'It blindsided me. I have bills like everyone else. When bills start to come due, I'm going to have to make some tough decisions,' said Ledet.

Members of Congress will have to make decisions as well. Perhaps the biggest decision is whether or not the respective parties can compromise on how to fund the government while also addressing Repulican concerns over Obamacare.

Members of the both parties are not bashful in blaming the other side.

'It appears that the Republicans continue playing games, and I don't think they take the seriousness of 800,000 people being furloughed today,' said Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans.

'We've passed bi-partisan bills out of the house to keep government funded and for whatever reason, Harry Reid on a party line basis said he refuses even to negotiate,' said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-New Orleans.

It may sound like typical politics, but don't tell that to the thousands of furloughed federal workers in Louisiana. There's nothing routine about not knowing when they'll be able to return to work.

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