Story and Photos by Louis Palm, American Red Cross
Nestled between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River in St. John Parrish the residents of LaPlace suffered greatly on August 30, 2012 from Hurricane Isaac. On that day the water poured into homes, at times waist deep. Today, September 13 the debris from Isaac’s deluge clutters community streets as residents begin the long road ahead to recovery and the expectant new normal.
A Red Cross volunteer who spent her initial deployment providing client casework in Baton Rouge was stunned by the obstacles ahead of both the Red Cross workers and the residents. This veteran volunteer of wildfires, floods, and hurricanes explained, “In Baton Rouge you served a client and drove to the next house. Here we walk from one house to the next and the next after that. It is overwhelming.”
It has been two weeks since the waters flooded their homes. Initially Emergency Response Vehicles pushed disaster relief supplies including clean-up kits, snacks, and water. This week Client Caseworks walk through the area collecting family information, providing Jumpstart kits and aiding where they can with additional water and snacks for the families emptying ruined possessions from the shells of their homes.
During this visit you could tell the resiliency of the residents remains high. But fatigue is setting in. The feeling of being blessed they lost only possessions runs through the neighborhood. But fatigue has not complete won. You still see neighbor helping neighbor.
The rebuilding process has begun. Community partners such as insurance representatives and restoration contractors are seen in the community. American Red Cross volunteers and their teammates from the Canadian Red Cross have spent days going door to door assisting those affected by disaster down the long road to recovery.And it will be a long road for the neighborhoods in LaPlace and other places in Louisiana. But if you look hard, you can see the end.