With the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida making landfall on Louisiana’s shores having recently passed, The Houma Times released a retrospective article that took a look back on how recovery efforts in the Bayou Region have taken shape in the past twelve months, as the area begins to prepare for yet another hurricane season.
The article focuses on how “Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou” saw the Category-4 storm’s destructive storm surges and winds brought with them the closing of local restaurants, attractions, events, and so much more, but despite all this, the storm didn’t deter the Cajun sense of perseverance against adversity. On the morning of August 30, many will recall that “neighbors helped neighbors, communities helped communities, and friends from around the country rushed to Louisiana’s aid, showcasing a shared camaraderie in the wake of the storm.
Similarly, Nola.com released a one-year reflection piece that detailed a collection of recent post-Hurricane Ida coverage that has been written by NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune about what’s happening in the state in terms of housing, insurance, power, and more.” Some of this coverage, in particular this piece that focuses on the communities of St. John Parish, details how LaPlace, Louisiana’s residents are still rebounding from the August 29th storm, despite still being in harm’s way for the upcoming hurricane season.
The informative article reported that according to the Louisiana Office of Community Development, “nearly 5,000 owner-occupied homes and some 3,700 renters were affected by [Hurricane] Ida” in St. John Parish with data suggesting “that, on a per-capita basis, St. John was Louisiana’s hardest-hit parish.” This data also purported that over 75% of homes in the parish had sustained wind damage claims, which is the highest rate of any Louisiana Parish. This was in addition to St. John Parish also seeing 60% of its homeowners with flood-insurance policies also file claims.
It’s well-knoen that St John Parish was particularly hit hard by Hurricane Ida, but one year after the fact has seen a recovery that has unfortunately been challenged by the state’s homeowners insurance crisis, which was triggered by the four hurricanes that have made landfall in Louisiana since late 2020. Since then, “eight companies have collapsed under financial strain and a growing number of them are pulling out of Louisiana, [and these] failed insurers have left behind more than 26,000 unresolved claims for the state’s industry bailout program to handle.”
St. John Parish Councilman Robert Arcuri commented on the recovery efforts in the area saying, “the devastation after the storm was incredible because not only did people flood, but we also had a lot of structural damage on properties. We still have a lot of residents that are fighting with their insurance company and some of them are just starting to rebuild. That’s a problem, but it’s not a big problem; I see a lot of progress that’s happening in our parish.”
Elsewhere in the state, local leaders at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness or GOHSEP, have reported that they are hard at work to prepare for what’s to come in 2022’s hurricane season and beyond. Specifically, GOHSEP has since revamped how they communicate with federal and state agencies “to clarify the responsibility and investments in sheltering, rescue, and response.”
Despite the multiple levels of preparedness going into effect across the state at various levels, one of the most effective methods of preparing for the next storm is to get an emergency kit ready on your own accord. Luckily, Louisiana’s Get a Game Plan organization has a collection of resources to not only stock your own emergency kit, but they have a guide to preparing yourself and your family for conceivably every possible scenario.
In his statement concerning the anniversaries of Hurricanes Ida, Katrina, and Laura, Governor John Bel Edwardsissued the following words to the citizens of Louisiana, “the road to recovery is never easy, and we still have much work ahead of us. But I am optimistic knowing that Louisiana is in a much stronger place than we were even a year ago. Homes, businesses and schools are being rebuilt. More of our citizens are employed than ever before. Our levee system has never been stronger. There is no challenge we can’t overcome by working together, and I am inspired by the people of this great state who continue to persevere.”
These words ring true, not only because they highlight how the state of Louisiana has bounced back in some ways after each storm, but because it sets the tone for yet another hurricane season as one that ushers in an air of preparedness, foresight, and community.
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