CADDO PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Caddo Parish Commission proposed a new disaster response strategy Monday, including solar power, backup batteries and plans for long-duration outages.
The Community Lighthouse project would build a network of neighborhood resilience hubs at faith and community institutions across the parish. According to the Commission, these hubs will be equipped with commercial-scale solar panels and backup battery systems and have trained Disaster Response Teams who will respond during severe weather or disaster events.
On Monday, the Commission announced plans to introduce the motion at its March 20 work session. The project would require $500,000 in seed funding.
Caddo Commissioner John-Paul Young said, “We have all recently lived through weather emergencies that have left Shreveport without electricity and water for sustained periods. There is no reason to doubt that such events will recur, so it’s essential for the government to support and invest in backup infrastructure to cope with extreme weather events.”
Two weeks ago, a major storm front moved through the area, creating multiple tornadoes that touched down in parts of southeast Shreveport, damaging homes and businesses. In December, an EF2 tornado moved through Keithville, obliterating homes and claiming the lives of two people. In 2021 winter storms moved through Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, causing dozens of deaths, power outages and water outages for millions of people across the region.
The proposed neighborhood hubs could continue operating during power outages and help conduct needs assessments by providing charging stations, small battery distribution, cooling and heating stations and food distribution. They would also serve as a backup water supply station and oxygen exchange with light medical equipment.
North Louisiana Interfaith’s presentation suggests four locations in the program’s pilot phase. Two sites have already been identified: Morning Star Baptist Church in Mooretown and the Highland Center. The coalition comprises 25 faith and community organizations collaborating on civic issues.
After hearing North Louisiana Interfaith’s presentation, City Councilman Dr. Alan Jackson said, “We are no longer waiting around for somebody else to make a plan. We are planning ahead for disaster, and also creating jobs and moving this community toward the energy future that we need.”
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell says this is a proactive measure to help prepare people for disasters down the road.
The plan calls for at least 20 Community Lighthouses across Caddo Parish to be completed over the next three years. They hope to provide places where all residents can quickly access a neighborhood hub during an emergency.