When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Mississippi and Louisiana on August 29, 2005, it caused catastrophic damage to our Gulf Coast. Baker Donelson attorneys immediately undertook efforts to help those displaced by the storm. Our Mississippi attorneys were appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to serve as special counsel on the Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal to help begin restoring the communities impacted by the storm. Donna Fraiche, who practices in our Baton Rouge and New Orleans offices, was appointed by Governor Kathleen Blanco's to the 33-member Board of Directors of the Louisiana Recovery Authority to begin the development and implementation of short and long-term recovery plans, focusing attention in key areas such as housing, jobs, transportation, health care and education. That commitment to service led to the creation of the Firm's Disaster Recovery and Government Services Industry Service Team.
Our team members have extensive experience in providing legal counsel and representation to clients participating in federal and state grant administration, including disaster recovery, stimulus and other programs. We also provide substantial consulting and project management services to these clients. Our services include staffing and managing teams of grant administration specialists from various disciplines. We provided financial oversight, document management, legal and compliance services to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency in connection with their responsibilities under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s $3 billion Public Assistance Program. As part of the effort, we were involved with oversight of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, an additional $200 million mutual aid agreement between states following disasters.
We have one of the largest and most extensive affordable housing practices in the region. An integral part of the practice entails representing housing authorities and state housing finance agencies. We serve as general and special counsel to housing authorities, which includes work in connection with a $60 million HOPE VI Development, and a state-wide consortium of housing authorities in Mississippi which have pooled their resources for a multi-million dollar debt financing. We also have deep experience working with state governments and housing finance agencies.
Our team includes the former Commissioner of the Mississippi Insurance Department; the former Deputy Commissioner of the Mississippi Insurance Department; the former Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Homeland Security; the legal counsel to the Housing Committee of the Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal; the Directors of the Mississippi Development Authority's Project Management Office and Small Rental Assistance Program; the Project Coordinator for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program; Certified Public Accountants; and Certified Fraud Examiners.