Some things have to be seen to be believed. In person. In 3D. A hurricane’s aftermath is one of them.
A group of us from Rêve and Eustis Mortgage recently went down to Point-Aux-Chenes for a day to deliver some supplies and help a few of the residents as best we could. I want to share some thoughts and ask for your help.
The first thing that stood out to me on the drive down was the scope of the damage. I’ve wandered around Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes before, but it’s easy to get NOLA-centric once you get back in the city. There are a lot more people and houses and businesses and daily lives being lived in that part of the state than I’d recalled. The number of homes that need to be repaired or rebuilt is staggering.
As the drive progressed, the concentration of blue roofs got to where the homes without one stuck out like a sore thumb. Roadside businesses and gas stations sustained significant damage, and very few were open. Disaster response teams were set up in parking lots, serving food to residents and the swarms of people still working tirelessly to restore power.
As I got closer to Point-Aux-Chenes, many homes looked like this one.
Good news at the community center was it was full of supplies for the residents. Once we were sent out to the home of the fabulous Ms. B., the bad news became overwhelming.
It was challenging to know where to start. A few of us began in the entry, so the front door could open all the way, while the rest of the group started in the kitchen (shown in a photo at the top of this post). We filled bags upon bags upon bags with wet, moldy drywall, and that was the easy part. Having to put Ms. B’s personal items that were damaged beyond salvaging in the bags, each time upon her approval, was heartbreaking.
It took hours of work to get the living room to this stage:
By the time the day was over, the living room was cleared out, most of the bathroom was done, and we made progress in the kitchen and in two of the three bedrooms. Ms. B. was so thankful it was difficult for her to put it into words.
Here’s the thing I want to stress – it has lingered with me since we left: That was one day at one house. There was nobody scheduled to help Ms. B the next day. Or the day after that. So much cleaning out and rebuilding needs to be done, and the people throughout the region need boots on the ground to help them do it.
This is exactly the kind of thing SBP is made for — the long haul. SBP stays around to rebuild long after the spotlight has moved on. Lily Hannigan, their national development manager, told me last week that they’d just sunset Hurricane Sandy recovery operations in New York and New Jersey after almost 9 years of work.
SBP has set up bases in Houma and LaPlace, and they’re looking to expand from there. Their teams are mucking and gutting damaged homes throughout the region. Ultimately, they expect to rebuild at least 300 homes in Louisiana over the next 3-5 years. This kind of help is desperately needed right now, and it’s what SBP does best.
Please click here to help SBP rebuild Louisiana better. All donations will directly help more people return home and start their post-Ida lives.