Lafitte residents remain resilient despite challenges

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 8:02 AM CDT
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JEAN LAFITTE, La. (WVUE) - The smell of meat cooking on the griddle fills the Nunez Seafood Pavilion on Jean Lafitte Boulevard. The location is the temporary home for a Lafitte staple -- Jan’s Cajun Restaurant -- that has been in business here for more than 30 years.

“It was my aunt and uncle’s business, and they had it since 1989,” owner Lanie Adam said. “From the devastation, she just couldn’t do it anymore. So, me and my husband took it over, trying to keep the family business going. And just seeing it destroyed, it was ... I don’t even have words.”

Owners Lanie and Jordan Adam said their lives changed drastically after Hurricane Ida made landfall last Aug. 29, devastating their hometown, business and way of life.

“We didn’t realize the damage and how bad it was going to be,” Lanie said. “Just to see losing everything and our community losing businesses and homes. It was really hard.”

Jordan said, “I sandbagged for Isaac, and actually was still there for Isaac. All we really did, it took us three months, and we were back open again. We pulled up the carpet, and we were ready for business in a few months. ... So, nothing like what happened this time.”

Lanie and Jordan are two of many residents in Jean Lafitte still recovering from the devastating storm, one year later.


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Lifelong resident and Mayor Tim Kerner said hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Isaac had nothing on Ida.

“People have kind of proclaimed this as our Hurricane Katrina, because of the devastation,” Kerner said. “We were completely devastated. You had water for two weeks. Saturated drainage systems, with rain continuing to fall. In some cases, four feet of mud in people’s homes.”

The town still faces challenges wrought by Ida. Louisiana’s insurance crisis is already affecting the vulnerable community, and that’s not all.

“Two and a half miles right north of us, it pumps right to us,” Kerner said. “It’s the largest pump in the world, right? So, there are studies that show it doesn’t add too much water. But that study is done on perfect days, where it flows through the Gulf of Mexico.

“But when you have a 100-mph south wind that’s blowing directly to the pump, that water has nowhere to go. It can’t overcome the surge. So, where does it go? It fills up in our area.”

Kerner said he is working with Louisiana lawmakers to get something done to help mitigate those challenges.

“Look, our representatives are really pushing for us,” he said. “But there’s some kind of disconnect where that push and the actual funding is not coming to this area. And I’m just pleading to them to help us.”

Despite everything, Kerner said there is some good news.

“We have a levee that’s going to start in lower Lafitte this year. We have a levee that’s going to start in Barataria by the end of the year. We have a levee in Crown Point that’s going to start next year,” Kerner said. “We’ll have every island community in our community that got levee protection on the way.”

Habitat for Humanity is also working with the town and pledged to spend more than $4 million over the next couple of years to build nearly 40 homes in Lafitte.

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