COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Almost three weeks after Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast, a few Southeast Louisiana parishes are still struggling to receive the relief that’s needed.
Jonathan Foret, one of the Directors for Helio Foundation and Hurricane Ida Survivor, is a lifelong resident of Louisiana who currently lives in Houma. He describes the damage from Hurricane Ida as some of the worst damage he has ever seen.
“There are piles of rubble where people’s homes once stood, you can’t even tell what was the roof or the front door. There are some structures that are completely gone that people haven’t even found where they went,” said Foret.
Foret said his parish, Terrebonne, as well as Lafourche Parish, were some of the worst-hit locations with the eye of Hurricane Ida making landfall within close proximity. Although he received power about five days ago, he said the southernmost parts of his parish have not had the power or water restored yet.
Foret also said Terrebonne Parish and surrounding areas received relief from the Army National Guard in their established distribution centers but are still struggling to receive things like gasoline and insulin. He also describes his hometown, Chauvin, as unrecognizable after Hurricane Ida.
“The areas were you would drive and there are landmarks that you see or even the vegetation, the trees that just give you a sense of where you are as you’re driving, all that has changed. It’s heartbreaking, it really is,” said Foret.
He said two major challenges that differentiate Hurricane Ida from past hurricanes are the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased cost of building supplies. He believes as people have been seeking shelter COVID cases may rise in the area. Also, the increased price of building materials will make it more difficult to rebuild homes and businesses.
Christina Lapeyrouse, a Louisiana native and current Columbus resident, went back to her hometown to provide residents with necessities like diapers, Lysol wipes and baby formula. She said there is a big lack of supplies and support on all levels.
“Funding is a big issue when you consider that the parish. The Terrebonne Parish itself is more than 100,000 people and it is estimated that more than 60% of the homes are now uninhabitable so they need a place to live. Many of them need food, many of them need transportation,” said Lapeyrouse
She urges people not to forget about the residents in the smaller communities in southeast Louisiana. She said many people in the bayou communities lost both their homes and livelihood.
Foret and Lapeyrouse are asking for financial donations through Helio Foundation that will go directly to the people in the bayou communities in southeast Louisiana. If interested in donating please visit bayoufund.org. Residents of Lafourche Parish and Terrebonne Parish with the most need will be eligible for $400 cash mini-grants so they can purchase essential items without the need of credit cards.