Debris pickup and housing still top priorities in St. Charles Parish

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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NORCO, ST. CHARLES PARISH (WVUE) - It’s going to be a while before areas of St. Charles Parish are back to normal, but some residents are determined to rebuild. Parish officials said debris pickup and housing are the biggest issues facing the parish right now.

“Residents are gonna see a lot of movement in the next couple of weeks,” said Matthew Jewell, St. Charles Parish President.

He knows the debris situation is a bad one. Crews have already picked up nearly 600,000 cubic yards of debris, but it’s going to take time to get all of it.

“We have about 65 vehicles or 65 trucks right now working in St. Charles Parish to pick up debris. I’m working on getting more in,” said Jewell. “Obviously right now, it’s a fight for resources between all the other parishes who were also in the business of picking up debris right now, so we’re all fighting for more trucks.”

He said the parish is working to get more trucks into St. Charles Parish to speed up the process.

“When you get hit by a category four storm, there’s gonna be a long restoration process,” he said.

Jewell said in October they hope to pick up over 800,000 cubic yards of debris, weather dependent. But crews are out working every day.

As far as recovery, Jewell feels like the parish is in a good place. He said power restoration is “pretty much complete.” And internet restoration by Cox Communications and AT&T is about 80 percent complete.

Jewell is also working with the state on securing FEMA trailers for those who need temporary housing.

“FEMA has openly admitted that their timeline is somewhere around November for trailers or direct housing for folks,” he said. “The state has stepped in, thankfully, and helped to speed this process along.”

In addition, Jewell said the parish will set up a site to house about 70 trailers for people who need a place to stay.

“Our goal is to keep people as close as possible to their home while they rebuild and that process should go faster now that the state has stepped in and is involved,” said Jewell.

He said every day is a step in the right direction for bringing back St. Charles Parish.

“My internet is still out at my home. I still have debris at my house and you know, it’s all part of it. And so we’re all in this together,” he said. “We’re gonna get there, it’s just gonna take a little time.”

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