‘They’re tough people and they come back’: Rep. Steve Scalise surveys Arabi tornado damage

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 10:11 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Congressman Steve Scalise and other elected officials toured the tornado damage in Arabi, Friday, speaking with residents to see where they need help.

There’s been serious progress in some of the hardest hit areas, although there’s a long road ahead. The focus is on moving forward and what aid can be given.

The assistance is going to be coming from the State in this case, but Congressman Scalise said his office is in open communication with the Parish just in case there is anything they can help with federally.

“They need help, they want support, but they’re they’re tough and they’re already planning to come back, I mean, look at all the contractors on roofs right now,” Scalise said.

Every day you see more and more people chipping away at the mammoth task ahead of them and more starts to return to somewhat normal, like over at Arabi Elementary. The school is damaged but welcoming students back with open arms.

It’s the spirit of the people that elected officials like Scalise, State Representative Ray Garofalo, and State Senator Sharon Hewitt can’t help but notice.

“They’re dealing with devastation, but they’re going to rebuild and we’re going to give them everything they need to help,” Scalise said.

Scalise said he and Parish President Guy McInnis had a conference call with President Biden’s Senior Advisor, Cederic Richmond, who has offered help on the Executive level.

“We’re talking with FEMA and they’re looking at, you know, what kind of things we would qualify for, in the meantime, the State’s already offered a lot of immediate help using some other federal dollars that were available to us,” Scalise said.

McInnis says starting Saturday, the Parish has an agreement with the State and GOSEHP to start cleaning up debris.

“The contractors that are on contract with the Parish will start and we’re going to get this thing clean very, very quickly for the citizens so that they could come bring a camper or trailer to stay on their property and rebuild their homes,” McInnis said.

McInnis says the Parish is working on housing and will move forward with the individual FEMA assistance, although it’s still unclear if the parish qualifies.

Applications for SBA loans are being taken right now.

McInnis said if anyone needs help finding assistance they should call the parish council who has been spearheading relief efforts.

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