‘It’s all gone;’ Hard hit Hurricane Ida survivors say they need physical help

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 7:42 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Many people whose homes were destroyed in Ida say the task of rebuilding is overwhelming. People in Galliano say they need help.

A mountain of refuse from broken homes and businesses lines the main highway in Galliano, but that’s only a fraction of Lafourche Parishes’ debris.

“It’s all gone,” said Cherita Brister. Her Galliano home is destroyed. Her family is living between makeshift tents, her father’s trailer next door with a collapsed ceiling, and the kindness of friends.

“I stay a few days at one friend. I stay a few days at another,” Brister said. “I just don’t want to overstay my welcome you know, but to have the go-to that you know when you are used to having your own... you know it’s hard.”

Residents say their biggest need is temporary housing and help clearing off private property.

Julian Lafont said he and his son-in-law managed to clear their yards, but it was difficult. He nearly succumbed to heat sickness on the first day of clean-up.

“They’re coming around to grab and grab the piles, but the individual yards is just a lot of them is still needing clean up and some of them can’t get to it. They’re trying to do the best they can. That’s what we do,” Lafont said.

He and his wife Kathy said although they needed to tarp the roof they have relatively little damage compared to their daughter next door.

“We’re very, very grateful. We thank God that we had not too much damage and they could move in with us because we could have come home to both houses totaled,” she said.

All eight family members are now living in the couple’s home. Kathy said she’s also disappointed in dealing with insurance companies.

“It’s slower. We have insurance you know and I mean you pay faithfully to insurance.. you would think that they would jump at helping you,” she said.

The people Fox 8 spoke with said the stress of dealing with the uncertainty of insurance claims and FEMA assistance is only second to the physical exhaustion of daily cleaning and salvaging their property.

Residents said they are very appreciative of the groups coming down and offering hot meals, but what they really need is volunteer labor to help with clearing debris and gutting their homes.

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