Louisiana is already aiding storms victims in northeast U.S.

Published: Oct. 30, 2012 at 10:14 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 6, 2012 at 11:19 PM CST
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New Orleans, La. — Hurricane Sandy victims are already getting help from Louisiana.

The scenes of massive storm surges are all too familiar for people through southeast Louisiana.

Hurricane Sandy not only whipped up the eastern seaboard's sandy coastline, but in many areas it sent floodwaters racing towards homes.

"You can't help but be drawn back to Isaac, Gustav, Ike, Rita, Katrina and put yourself in the shoes of the people," said Kay Wilkins, CEO of the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Indeed, it was not so long ago that Hurricane Isaac battered metro New Orleans for days, swamping parts of the area with floodwaters.  And although the storm recovery is not over here, Wilkins is confident Louisiana residents will open their hearts and wallets to help those hit hard north of this area.

"Who better can understand how much it means to have a hot meal put into your hands, or a warm blanket wrapped around your shoulder?" asked Wilkins.

Already 11 of the local Red Cross volunteers are in the northeast, where millions remain without electricity.  Entergy New Orleans, which worked around the clock to restore electrical power after Isaac, said it has so far sent 300 workers to assist with power restoration in the northeast.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the New Orleans District Office is sending an emergency management specialist to the storm wreckage area, and the Corps said it will send supplies and more personnel if needed.

At the state level, the Jindal administration said four staff members from the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) are already assisting storm recovery efforts in Pennsylvania.  And the Jindal administration said some others will head to Maryland once travel conditions permit.

Also, a shelter management team from Louisiana is on standby. Additionally, Jindal's staff said they have been in contact with all states impacted by the storm to offer assistance.

While no NOPD officers or New Orleans firefighters have been sent to the northeast, Ryan Berni, spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu, said the city has reached out to mayors in affected cities in the northeast -- so far there are no specific requests for assistance.

FEMA said Tuesday that none of the Isaac relief workers have been pulled from here to work in areas impacted by Sandy.

As for the local Red Cross office, Wilkins said 25 additional local volunteers are itching to head north.

"They've had their bags packed. They're sitting on go… And we're making preparations to send our big Red Cross truck. They're going to drive to New York or New Jersey or Philadelphia, wherever the need is," she said.

The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations. And locals interested in becoming volunteers should go online to ARCNO.org or call (504) 620-3105.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities spokeswoman Margaret Dubuisson said, while they are supporting the northeast storm victims through continued prayer, currently they are dealing with the enormous ongoing needs resulting from Hurricane Isaac.