More than 2,000 federal workers and National Guard troops in Louisiana have been furloughed due to the government shutdown that went into effect Tuesday, Oct. 1.
By Wednesday the parties in Washington hinted that the shutdown could last weeks. The stalemate's effects have rippled across the nation, as federal workers deemed "non-essential" are forced to stay home, and local businesses profits are starting to be hit.
NOLA.COM/Time Picayune reports in Louisiana, at least 10 percent of the total federal workforce of 22,000 was home on hump day. More than half of these workers could usually be found in the National Finance Center in New Orleans.
The center, which is located in the Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans, handles human resource and payroll services for more than 170 federal agencies. Of the 1,226 people who work there, 99 percent have been furloughed, said USDA Communications Director Matt Paul.
If the shutdown continues into next week, 108 people will be asked to come back to continue necessary operations at the center until Friday, when a new strategy will need to be employed.
The Louisiana National Guard has also been hit by furloughs in the immediate aftermath of the shutdown. Of the 10,500 guardsmen in the state, 876 of those acting as federal technicians have been furloughed. This amounts to roughly eight percent of the total force.
There are 1,036 total federal technicians in Louisiana, but 156 perform what are called "exempted" duties, such as electronic security, and cannot be furloughed. And the state's active guard reserves will stay in place no matter the length of the shutdown, according to Staff Sgt. Denis B. Ricou.
"This is what we had to do," Ricou said.
State parks and forests continue to be closed Wednesday, and will be for as long as the shutdown continues. This is also true of any national historic and scenic areas and Louisiana's seven federal wildlife refuges.
As was true Tuesday, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program has ground to a halt. Louisiana has the third largest such program in the country and the money that the state receives for it gets passed directly to Catholic Charities.
But not much else has changed since the federal government first shut down Tuesday.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans is not yet sending people home, said Public Affairs Officer Ken Holder. But, he reiterated there is uncertainty as to when furloughs could kick in. If the shutdown continues through Friday, it's a possibility.
Two nutritional programs that provide food and assistance to pregnant women, children and seniors will be able to withstand the federal shuttering for the short term, in spite of a temporary loss of funding.
"At this point, we are still in full operation," said Anna Toujas, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which runs a large food distribution program for needy pregnant women, small children and seniors.
The program, called Food for Families/Food for Seniors, has a three-month supply of food that allows them to continue normal distribution for the time being. Another program called WIC -- which serves infants, new mothers and pregnant women -- will also continue to serve existing clients.
Last year, Food for Families/Food for Friends served 67,079 people across all 64 parishes.
"We're going to continue to monitor closely how this progresses," she said.