A long road to recovery for residents in St. Charles Parish

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 10:38 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Downed power lines, roof tops ripped off-- that is what many residents in St. Charles Parish are coming home to following Hurricane Ida. But the love for St. Charles Parish runs deep as people there begin to rebuild their lives.

“When you actually see it, it’s like.. wow this is overwhelming,” said James Braud of Norco, who was looking at his pecan trees now laying across his yard. “Just cleaning up around the house. A lot of tree damage. All my trees are down.”

“When I came home, all I could do was cry,” said Liz Trimble of Luling, who is now tarping her rooftop after a large oak tree came down during the hurricane. “We have been through so many hurricanes and these trees have never given us any trouble. So you know it had to be some vicious winds.”

It’s the picture of disaster. Nearly every home and structure in St. Charles Parish was touched by Ida’s heavy winds and rain.

“There was water coming in because the rain was coming in sideways so all the water was coming in downstairs. And it just probably would have been scary to see if we would have been here,” said Eduardo Melgar of Destrehan who says he is very glad he and his family evacuated before the hurricane’s landfall.

Now residents here wait. They wait for power, trash and debris collection, and help.

“We were really devastated by this storm,” said Parish President Matthew Jewell. He compared the devastation from Hurricane Ida to that of Hurricane Katrina-- as homes were destroyed, and for many, power may not be restored until the end of September.

“It’s going to be a long restoration process. But we know our residents are resilient and they’re up for the challenge,” said Jewell.

Through the piles of debris lining every street, residents begin their road to recovery.

“But you know God is always faithful when we go through trials, he’s always there to help us. And you know what? He’s gonna give us double for our troubles,” said Trimble with a positive attitude. She laughed with hope that things can only get better.

“We’ll be back as soon as possible,” said Melgar. “But is it gonna be next month? Is it gonna be Christmas? Is it gonna be January? We don’t know.”

“My fingers are crossed for Christmas,” said Amanda Patrick, Melgar’s friend.

Like them, many in St. Charles Parish are hoping for a Christmas miracle-- at the very latest.

Jewell said trash pickup is delayed by at least two weeks for residents, and he’s hoping it will begin soon. Debris trucks have begun picking up debris and linemen are throughout St. Charles working to fix power poles and downed lines.

St. Charles Parish is still under a boil water advisory.

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