BATON ROUGE, La (press release) – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser commemorated the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this morning during a wreath laying ceremony at the Shell Beach Katrina Memorial in St. Bernard Parish. The ceremony honored the lives of the 164 people killed in St. Bernard Parish during the storm. As each of the victim’s names were read, family members laid a wreath in front of a monument that bears all 164 names. This ceremony took place just days after Hurricane Laura hit the southwest coast of Louisiana.

“Today marks a deeply painful reminder of what we experienced, loved ones lost, and the impact on those who survived Hurricane Katrina,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “As a state very familiar with the devastating impact of hurricanes and natural disasters, this event changed the lives of over a million people. And now, 15 years later, as we search for, rescue, and support our family and friends now devastated by Hurricane Laura’s destructive path, we are reminded again about how fragile life is and how strong people in Louisiana continue to be.”

Lt. Gov. Nungesser—a businessman in Plaquimines Parish at the time—chose not to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina, and regrets that decision. He has since become a strong advocate for early evacuation and early emergency response. His passion for people led him to become Plaquimines Parish President and ultimately to be elected the 54th Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina’s arrival on the shores of Louisiana destroyed 80% of homes in the greater New Orleans area and caused $128 billion in damages throughout the southeast U.S.

“We are grateful for the generosity of millions of people who have volunteered and donated their time and resources to help us in our greatest times of need,” said Lt. Gov. Nungesser this morning. “We look forward to the day when we can welcome visitors with open arms and share the good times Louisiana is also known for, once again.”