Gonzales Civic Center re-opens nearly two years after 2016 flood
BATON ROUGE - A major renovation to the Gonzales Civic Center is done, coinciding with the start of the city's Jambalaya Festival.
The Civic Center was closed for almost two years since the building took on two feet of water during the August 2016 flood. At the time, none of the city buildings had flood insurance.
"We just never thought that we would ever need it, but this taught us a lesson and taught us a good lesson... So yes we're ready and insured," said Mayor Barney Arceneaux.
Arceneaux says Gonzales received a FEMA grant, and the city only had to foot about 10 percent of the bill.
Some of the renovations include new appliances inside of the kitchen, new walls and lights, a brand new stage, and a new heat and air conditioning system.
"The floors were okay, but the air conditioning, heating, walls, even the stage had to all be replaced," said Arceneaux.
The city says they've learned from their mistake of not having flood insurance, and now all of the city's buildings have full coverage.
Residents attending the Jambalaya Festival like the new facility, while others believe there's always a possibility of flooding again.
"I would have wished they could have built it up and tore it down and built another one at a higher elevation than what it is right now", said longtime resident James Carey.