Advocacy Visits Houma, Louisiana

By Rhett Davis, Region 6 Advocate

The Office of Advocacy recently visited Houma, Louisiana to participate in a small business regulatory forum.

An hour southwest of New Orleans, Houma is the largest city along the south-central Louisiana coastline and is impacted greatly by agriculture, fishing and the oil and gas industry.

A local businessman in the real estate industry hosted the forum and shared his concerns about rules being enforced by FEMA as part of NFIP, the National Flood Insurance Program. He feels that flood insurance is too expensive for some homes that have never flooded. In one such case, he said a client of his is paying $5,000 per year for flood insurance in an area where there’s never been a flooding problem. He believes that a reevaluation of how properties are assessed would be in order.

The owners of an HVAC company shared their concerns about the lack of regulation in their industry. They said the lack of training among some workers in the industry creates an unsafe environment for consumers.

While in Houma, we spoke with the owner of a tree cutting service who shared his thoughts about SBA loans and said that more information needs to be provided to the public before they apply for such loans. A local internet service provider also explained the challenges faced by the region during a rough period for the oil and gas industry.

Houma and the bayou region are known for strong opinions about football, food and politics. We found the people equally as passionate about business. We appreciated their willingness to discuss their regulatory burdens with us. The Office of Advocacy looks forward to returning to Houma, Louisiana.

Rhett Davis serves as the Region 6 Advocate for the SBA Office of Advocacy, representing small businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Davis works with small business owners, state and local governments, and small business associations to bring the voice of Region 6 to Washington DC. He can be reached at