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First federal relief checks deposited for Louisiana residents

“It was a relief,” one recipient said. “It’s kind of like a glimmer of hope for others who may not have received it yet.”


Latrice Harris works as a real estate broker, but that work has dried up in recent weeks.

So she was thrilled to see the $707 -- a mix of $600 in federal dollars and $107 in state funds -- appear on Monday.

“It was a relief,” she said. “It’s kind of like a glimmer of hope for others who may not have received it yet.”

And there are many others looking for a similar economic lifeboat.

Ava Dejoie, secretary of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, said the number of claims is exponentially higher these days that it usually is.

Right now, she said, there are about 171,000 people who have applied for unemployment in Louisiana. Nearly 120,000 of those people filed for during the last three weeks, she said

“In all of last year we had a little bit over 103,000 people,” Dejoie said.

On Monday, the state Workforce Commission paid out $89 million in state and federal unemployment dollars.

Dejoie said her agency is working almost around the clock to keep up with the demand.

Meanwhile, federal stimulus money is also starting to make its way to taxpayers across the country and here in the metro New Orleans area.

The IRS sent the first direct deposits to some people on Saturday. And by Friday, it expects to have a website live where you can track your payment.

For Harris, she said every penny counts right now, and it can’t come fast enough.

“In the future months ahead I do know I’m not going to have anything coming in,” she said.

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