NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - U.S. Senator John Kennedy says he's fighting to keep more than a thousand jobs in the New Orleans area. A February tornado ripped through the National Finance Center building on NASA's Michoud facility property in New Orleans East, forcing workers to temporary digs. The tornado hit a warehouse twisting metal before it headed to the NASA site. It crossed Old Gentilly Highway and hit the National Finance Center building punching holes in it's walls. Plywood now covers most of it's facade.
"The finance center was hit hardest," Senator Kennedy said. "People have been spread all over the state. I don't want those jobs to go to Massachusetts so I'm going to fight hard."
Thirteen hundred employees worked in the finance center. The NFC provides payroll services to 650,000 federal employees.
"It's important not just to Louisiana, but to the whole country. We are going to save it!" Kennedy said.
NFC officials would not go on camera but said many of their employees have been sent to other parts of the state. Others are housed in empty office space on the NASA Michoud grounds. Kennedy says it's a must to repair or replace some of the buildings to keep the jobs here.
Kennedy serves on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee in Washington. The body writes legislation steering federal funds into government departments and agencies. He's appealing to his colleauges.
"Number one, first thing I asked for is flood recovery money. Two billion dollars to help recover from floods in March and August of last year. Number two on my list is $296 million for our facility at Michoud.
Kennedy said he had a conference call on the damaged buildings this week with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mick Mulvaney advises congress on expenditures. Kennedy says he was encouraged by the talk.