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Larose community still stuck in the mud

Lafourche Parish crews are working to dig them out
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - There are still so many obstacles preventing people in hard-hit areas like Lafourche Parish from getting back into their homes and many can’t go back at all.

In the Larose community, their hurdle is a smelly, sludgy one.

“That’s what we’ve been dealing with for 26 days… mud,” Janet Pitre said. “My legs are covered in flea bites and mosquito bites and everything. It’s horrible. That’s why we can’t stay.”

For three weeks, Larose has been buried in over a foot of sludge and sitting in standing water.

“It’s very trying. Every morning, I wake up and look out my front door and know that I have more work to do in this mud,” Al Bruce said. “It takes every bit of effort and gumph to get out here and get it done.”

Lafourche Parish has finally sent some crews out to clear the roads and drainage ditches. Parish President Archie Chaisson says after that, they’ll move on to clearing people’s yards.

“A lot of my neighbors, they lost everything, it got in their house,” Pitre said.

Neighbors say they’ve never seen a storm surge quite like this. Pitre had to get back to her house in a boat. Bruce had to ride back in a tall truck and it took weeks for the water to go down.

“We had water come over the levee back here on the Intercoastal Canal and water also came in from Bayou Lafourche, so water came in from three directions,” Bruce said.

Besides the mud, you can see entire homes turned inside out from all the water that rushed in. Some homes were taken off the foundation.

“I’ve already talked to some others and they’re not coming back,” Bruce said.

Chaisson says they estimate 2,800 people have been displaced and need emergency housing.

“We’re at about 1,500,” Chaisson said about the list they’re making. “I know some people may not have seen it yet, some people may not have gotten through yet because the girls on the phone bank are literally picking it up, dropping it, picking it, up dropping it.”

They are making a list of people in need as well as working with FEMA and GOHSEP to figure out what the long term is going to look like.

“Whether it’s direct housing, which in some cases are a FEMA trailer or a HUD modular home, depending on how many people you have in your household or if that’s bigger things like base camps or man camps that we can set up in a couple of key locations that can house a couple hundred people,” Chaisson said.

But for some like Pitre, this storm knocked it out of them.

“We may leave because my husband is so afraid next time we’ll lose everything, and a lot of people did. I have family, my brother they lost everything,” Pitre said. “It’s something to think about.”

For others like Bruce, they just keep looking forward.

“It’s one day at a time,” Bruce said. “We’ll live through, we’ll rebuild and we’ll get through this.”

Chaisson says it’s looking like it the RV solution from the state is about 14 days away for emergency housing but FEMA trailers look like 45 to 60 days away which is unacceptable to him.

If you need emergency housing you can fill out this form: https://www.lafourchegov.org/emergency-housing

Or you can call the EOC (985) 537-7603 to be placed on the list.

They will need the address of the home you were living in during Hurricane Ida, a contact number to reach you, and the number of people in your household when you call in.

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