BCF Awards Second Round of Grants through Bayou Recovery Fund

Residents in the Houma-Thibodaux area recently received another round of donations through the Bayou Recovery Fund thanks to the Bayou Community Foundation, according to Houma Today.

One week following Hurricane Ida making landfall at Port Fourchon and leaving a detrimental amount of damage in its wake, the Thibodaux-based foundation known as the Bayou Community Foundation for Hurricane Ida Relief has received thousands of donations from all over, resulting in the funding of nearly $1.8 million in grants since September 5, 2021.

Now, it was recently announced that the Bayou Community Foundation has approved a second round of grants and additional funding to be distributed to nonprofits in the affected areas. Officially, nearly $1.3 million in donations will be distributed to Houma and Thibodaux area residents recovering from the Category 4 storm and an additional $1.29 million will be distributed to 17 nonprofits in Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Grand Isle.

The Bayou Community Foundation’s president, Henry Lafont, said the following in a news release regarding the second round of donations and grants being approved for distribution: “Thanks to the compassion and generosity of individual and corporate donors around the country, Bayou Community Foundation has been able to act swiftly and effectively over the past five weeks to fund programs that are filling the most urgent needs of our residents like food, water, and essential supplies. Our local nonprofits are doing amazing work to help the suffering among us.”

Since September 5th, the funds that have been disbursed to nonprofits have helped the workers and volunteers distribute hot meals, nonperishable food items, water, gasoline, clothing, hygiene supplies, cleaning instruments and agents, and much more to residents affected by the storm. In addition to the supplies stemming from the funds, the donations have also helped to secure and provide temporary housing, classroom supplies, educational equipment, and medical programs to the Southeastern Louisiana residents.

When addressing the longevity of such donations, Lafont went on to say, “we know this is just the beginning, though,” Lafont said. “As we turn the corner from relief to recovery, the Bayou Recovery Fund is positioned to help address longer-term needs in Lafourche, Terrebonne and Grand Isle like the housing crisis we now face and the mental health needs that we expect to come.”

In the future, the Bayou Community Fund is looking to raise an additional $10 million for storm recovery efforts. All donations gifted to the Fund are tax-deductible and are used to fund emergency grants to local nonprofits providing direct, critical relief, recovery, and rebuilding services in the aftermath of the hurricane to those most affected in the Bayou Region. Previously, on September 15, 2021- just a week after the fund was initiated, $449,000 in Bayou Recovery Fund Grants were awarded.

As of this second round of grants being announced to several agencies and nonprofits across southeastern Louisiana, several have commented on the announced grants such as the Executive Director of the Lafourche Education Foundation, Paula Rome, who said the following in response to the planned $100,000 grant along with the Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence: “with this grant, LEF will be able to help our Lafourche schools that were hardest hit by Hurricane Ida replenish much-needed classroom supplies and equipment for our teachers and students across the parish.”

Similarly, Bob Stewart, Ph.D, Vice President of Friends of Grand Isle said of his organization’s grant, “this grant from the Bayou Community Foundation provides critical relief to our first responders who have so selflessly served Grand Isle in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The Friends of Grand Isle are committed to providing financial relief to our residents and businesses to build a stronger Grand Isle.”

For more Louisiana-related articles, click here.

Power Starting to Return to Terrebonne and Lafourche

After undergoing detrimental, life-altering setbacks from Hurricane Ida, electricity is slowly beginning to return to the parishes of Terrebonne and Lafourche, according to Houma Today.  For Hurricane Ida recovery, resources, and assistance in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, please visit this link.

As of Wednesday, September 8, Houma Today reported that there were 26,404 Entergy customers in Terrebonne Parish without power and 42,137 people, or 95%, without electricity in Lafourche Parish.

Though the process of getting power back to the communities of Terrebonne and Lafourche has been slow ever since Hurricane Ida left the southeastern Louisiana parishes into darkness in late August, some Houma communities like the Oakshire neighborhood have had their power restored by SLECA with more to follow soon. SLECA, or the South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association, reported that their crews have been “putting in 16-hour days” to restore power to its 6,500 customers in Terrebonne and Lafourche.

Entergy is the largest utility company in the Houma-Thibodaux area, serving 71,720 customers in two parishes, and as of September 8th, there were 1,075 poles broken in Terrebonne, 879 downed wires and 1,270 damaged transformers, according to Entergy who estimates a date of 100% restoration to be at the end of September. Though, the parish aims to have power restored to critical areas well before that date. For instance, one of the top priorities identified by parish officials has been to restore power to Terrebonne General Medical Center.

Entergy Senior Communications Specialist Brandon Scardigli said of the restoration efforts, “while the estimated date of restoration is Sept. 29, we expect to begin powering critical facilities and other social infrastructure within the parish in advance of this date. We continue to clear roads and pick up poles and wire while simultaneously repairing feeder lines to critical customers. We expect to continue this focus while we expand to residential areas and restore power to the parish.”

With electricity slowly beginning to trickle back across the area, it’s possible that Terrebonne Parish’s boil advisorymight soon be lifted. According to officials, power has returned to the Schriever Water Plant, which will allow for water to once again be tested against “stringent standards” for the safety of the community.

Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove reported that the Terrebonne Parish Utilities Department has also been making strides to the 13,308 customers in Houma’s city limits. Dove said of his parish’s progress, “As of right now (September 9) we have 2,200 households with power. All the substations are completely repaired. As we hook up and energize an area, they will have to cut the power to your house if there’s damage because they don’t want to turn the electricity on and shock someone or burn the house down.”

Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson told Houma Today that significant portions of Thibodaux and Chackbayhave begun to see lights returning to the area. When interviewed about what the recent return to “some time of normalcy” meant for her family when her electricity returned earlier in the week, Thibodaux resident Danielle Stein said, “we are so grateful. We know how blessed we are to be some of the first in Lafourche Parish with power so my daughter and I are out volunteering in the community today, doing what we can to give back to those who are less fortunate.”

Outside of electrical updates to the Houma area, the Terrebonne Animal Shelter has reported that they are encountering and saving more and more stray animals every day. Residents are encouraged to contact the organization known as 911 Foster Pets in the event that they need temporary foster care to be provided for a pet. The shelter staff has also been handing out pet supplies at the various distribution sites throughout the parish for those in need. In addition to supplies being distributed by the shelter, FEMA has been conducting Disaster Survivor Assistanceoutreach and registration at Grand Caillou Middle School.

For more Louisiana-related articles, click here