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Ida victims in St. John Parish waste no time starting to rebuild

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - There are mounds of debris throughout the River Forest neighborhood in LaPlace. It’s a sign that people are back and already starting to rebuild. It also gives you an idea of the devastation.

Ida’s wind ripped off rooftops and the rain and storm surge swamped homes. The damage is everywhere.

Parish President Jaclyn Hotard estimates 60% of homes in St. John suffered major damage. Around 10% of homes were completely destroyed.

FEMA is there, helping residents fill out applications for assistance.

Debris pickup is happening and the parish says its already collected 15,000 cubic yards of vegetation. The parish is allowing residents to place RV’s and trailers on their property as they rebuild. For many, the road to recovery will not be easy.

“We do have to gut the house at least four feet. We lost two cars, and we’re just trying to get everything back together. We’re trying to go through the cleaning process. We are waiting on the adjusters, most of them have been in contact with us. They have so much that they are looking at right now. We are just being patient. We just thank the Lord for our lives. We can replace things, but we can’t replace lives. We know it’s going to be a long haul, but God has given us the strength. We are going to get through it. We are going to get through it,” says Minister Michelle Watson.

“You got in and we just started pulling out because if you don’t, the damage will be even more extensive. So, you’re trying to mitigate it as much as you can. I think everybody started jumping on it. Everybody started to tarp roofs to minimize that. You’re pulling all of your possessions out,” says Missy Pecoraro.

There’s still a curfew in St. John Parish from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. In many cases, we’ve seen neighbors helping each other to come back stronger.

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