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Bayou parish residents living in tents as they wait for FEMA assistance

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:24 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - More than three weeks after Hurricane Ida, some storm survivors are living in tents in the Bayou Parishes.

“I can’t find nothing. Everything is destroyed. Everything is gone,” said Eula Billiot as she tours her home in Terrebonne Parish.

Thursday, September 23 is the first time Billiot returns to her home in Ashland in a few days. She’s tried staying away because Billiot says each time she visits, she can’t help but sit in her car and cry. “I just had to take one more look. To see if I can find anything. Memories. I just had to take one more look.”

She tells FOX 8, she finished paying off her home two years ago.

“I cry every time I come,” Billiot said. She is staying with her daughter in Houma until she can figure her next steps, but not everyone was willing or able to leave their homes.

Rocky Cantrell has been living in a tent in front of his parent’s home. “This seems like we can’t get our lives back together. It’s been rough.”

He lives in a home behind his parents. The roofs to both homes, peeled off from Ida. His parents are able to use their home, he says he can’t because of mold.

He also worries about looters. Terrebonne Parish deputies have made some arrests in the area.

“It’s hard. Real hard. Lots of sleepless nights,” Cantrell said. “It’s just rough.”

Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee, the Republican who represents Terrebonne and Lafourche, says he met a woman whose 3-year-old daughter is living in a tent. Tanner says about 13,000 homes in the Bayou Parishes were destroyed by Hurricane Ida.

“It’s not just some adults who are used to roughing it,” Magee said. “We are putting some vulnerable people in some very tough spots, and it’s a huge elderly population.”

Today, he spoke with Congressman Steve Scalise about getting FEMA to expedite resources. “Last Friday, FEMA told us that 30 days would be the soonest we could see some trailers or mobile units which is unacceptable,” Magee says. “FEMA plans to send trailers to the state but as to when is unclear. I have not heard on an exact time frame of when we could expect the first mobile unit or trailer to come.”

He says the waiting is making the housing crisis worse. “It’s probably worse now than it was after the storm, to be honest with you, conditions aren’t getting better they’re only getting worse.”

Eula Billiot says she’s letting officials do their jobs as she leans on her faith and neighbors.

“Right now we need stability, security,” Billiot said. “And a lot of prayers.”

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