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More debris than expected in St. Charles Parish, making pick-up a slow process

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 9:39 PM CDT
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DESTREHAN (WVUE) - St. Charles Parish leaders say the amount of debris that has to be picked up is growing and it will take a long time to recover.

You don’t have to travel deep into St. Charles Parish to see the debris piles lining the streets of neighborhoods.

“Look at St. Charles on the map and look how small it is and we’re pretty messed up,” said Destrehan resident Laurel Kennedy. For one of the smaller parishes in Southeast Louisiana, there is a lot of debris, from branches and trees to construction and housing materials.

“It’s mindblowing to see everyone you know we’re a small community and we know everybody and seeing people their life on the curb... it sucks,” said Brittany Ecuyer of Destrehan, who is also waiting for the debris to be picked up in front of her home.

“They keep saying they’re gonna send somebody out and we’re waiting,” said Jamie Strongmouton, also of Destrehan. She’s tired of seeing the debris piles grow higher and higher near her home as her neighbors begin cleaning and gutting their homes.

St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell posted on Facebook Tuesday, September 21, recognizing the need for debris pickup in his parish.

The post reads:

Debris Update: Our initial assessment the day after hurricane Ida was that we had over 1,000,000 cubic yards of...

Posted by Matthew Jewell on Tuesday, September 21, 2021

“Debris Update:

Our initial assessment the day after hurricane Ida was that we had over 1,000,000 cubic yards of debris, mostly vegetative. It was not know at the time just how bad the roof damage and rain infiltration throughout the Parish was. It became apparent over the last two weeks that we had way more construction debris than what was originally thought. This is putting our total debris estimate closer to 2,000,000 cubic yards of debris.

I want to be honest with our residents. This was the worst storm to ever hit our Parish and it is going to be a long recovery process. We’ve already picked up over 250,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris and a couple days ago I had our debris contractors start picking up the construction debris. Again, this process is going to take time but we are going to make sure everything gets picked up.”

To put that in perspective, if you put all of that debris inside the Superdome, it could fill it halfway up.

“I think they’re doing a really good job. I think Matthew Jewell is doing a really good job,” said Ecuyer. “They’ve picked up vegetation, yes I know it’s slow with debris and everything but it could be way worse.”

Jewell said it’s going to be a long recovery process, and when it comes to picking up the debris, it’s going to take time.

“More trucks please. More trucks please,” begged Strongmouton in tears looking at the debris and trash on her front yard.

“It’s super frustrating because we’re ready for life [and] everything to get back to normal and at this point just feels like it’s never gonna get normal,” said Kennedy.

And while “normal” will take time, so will the debris pick-up in St. Charles Parish.

In addition to the debris situation, residents say power restoration is still touch-and-go. They’ll have power and then it will go out. Just another example of how much work has to get done before St. Charles Parish is back on its feet.

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