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Dec 05, 2012
Governor Jindal Breaks Ground on Veterans Cemetery in Slidell

SLIDELL – Governor Bobby Jindal spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony today for the new Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Slidell. The new cemetery location will provide for the needs of approximately 100,000 veterans and their families who reside in and around Southeast Louisiana.

Governor Jindal said, “Today’s groundbreaking is another step we can take to thank our veterans and eternally honor their courageous service. This resting place is the least we can do for the thousands of veterans and their families who have given up so much to protect our freedoms and liberties.”

Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery will be the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs’ third cemetery site.  The first LDVA cemetery is located in Keithville, Louisiana and opened in 2007. The second is in Leesville and opened in February 2012. 

The Louisiana National Guard donated seventy-five total acres for this cemetery project with twenty-one acres planned for use in the initial development. The site is located approximately seven miles northwest of Slidell on S. Perimeter Road and is visible from Interstate 12 just outside the gates of Camp Villere. 

"I’m excited to celebrate the start of construction at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery," said Lane Carson, Secretary of Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.  "Thanks to the support of Governor Jindal, Louisiana National Guard, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Cemetery Grant Program, this project has finally become a reality and will provide veterans in Southeast Louisiana with a dignified final resting place."

"As a proud member of an organization with a large population of veterans, we understand the importance of honoring those who have served", said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard.  "The Louisiana National Guard will always continue to support our nation's veterans, and I am pleased that we were able to provide the land for this project. Our motto is "Protect What Matters" and this certainly applies to those who have fought for our many freedoms both home and abroad."

Tree and debris clearing of the site began in October, and the cemetery is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013. An $8.3 million grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs will fund the initial costs to develop the cemetery. Initial development will include construction of a main entrance, a combined administration and public information center, a maintenance facility, roads, an assembly area, and other supporting infrastructure.

In addition to breaking ground on the new cemetery, the Governor also highlighted previous actions his administration has taken to support veterans:
  • Last session, Governor Jindal signed legislation that allows an official “Veteran” designation on driver’s licenses for Louisiana veterans. Before the legislation, veterans had to carry cumbersome paperwork to show proof of their military service when applying for jobs or for discounts and services provided by retail stores. Now, all they need is their licenses.
  • The Governor also proposed and signed legislation last session to make sure students who delay their TOPS award to serve in the military do not lose their eligibility for voluntarily reenlisting. 
  • Additionally, the Governor signed legislation last session that streamlines professional licensing for military personnel and their spouses seeking employment in Louisiana, making it easier for them to apply for jobs.
  • In 2008, Governor Jindal signed an Executive Order that made Louisiana the third state to participate in the United States Army Partnership for Youth Success Program that encourages employers, like the state of Louisiana, to recruit former Army active and reserve members.
  • Governor Jindal redirected the Louisiana Military Family Assistance Fund to the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Since that time, LDVA has awarded more than $350,000 in financial assistance to more than 2,500 Louisiana National Guardsmen and Reservists.
  • Governor Jindal created the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal, and since 2009, nearly 35,000 medals have been awarded to Louisiana veterans.
  • Governor Jindal signed legislation to ensure veterans get the care they deserve by expanding the eligibility requirements of the Louisiana War Veterans Homes to allow the state to serve a greater number of Louisiana veterans. Over 80,000 peacetime Louisiana veterans and their spouses are now eligible for service at the War Veterans Homes. 
  • The Jindal Administration created LAVETBIZ, a program to assist Louisiana veterans who own their own business. 
  • Over the past few years, Veterans Affairs has increased federal compensation and pension payments to Louisiana veterans by $36 million in the last fiscal year. This provides additional benefits to nearly 300,000 Louisiana veterans.
  • Since 2008, the Jindal Administration has increased the presence of service offices with locations now open in every parish across the state.  These parish offices provide veterans with local access to trained Veterans Assistance Counselors who help veterans and their families secure the benefits they earned through their military service. Louisiana now ranks 13th in the nation in benefits and compensation payments to veterans on a per capita basis.

 
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