Families living in tents, rubble as Hurricane Ida aftermath reveals housing crisis

National

ASHLAND, La. (BRPROUD) — Three weeks after Hurricane Ida, people are still homeless and living without water or electricity. Local organizations are trying to help people get by while they wait for federal assistance.

Groups in southern Terrebonne Parish, like the Helio Foundation, have been “boots on the ground” trying to go door-to-door to help people who are still without basic necessities.

Brooke Marcel, her husband, and their three-year-old daughter are living in a tent next to their devastated home. A small upgrade from the makeshift tent they created with the rubble of their home.

“It’s hard and it’s not helping that we have to literally stare at this every day,” Marcel said.

Their daughter’s innocence is helping them get through it all.

“She’s like ‘we may have lost our home but mama, daddy, y’all my home’ and like we broke down crying,” Marcel said.

They have already applied for federal assistance to help rebuild their destroyed home or find some kind of temporary housing.

“FEMA denied me and my husband. I don’t know why. I don’t have internet to check why,” Marcel said.

She believes it’s because they rent their home from her husband’s grandfather. They have made an appeal but were told it could take over 90 days. The main source of help has been from people like Raegan Duplantis-Creppell and Genie Trahan-Ardoin at the Helio Foundation or neighbors who also lost everything but still lend a helping hand.

“Everybody is struggling and it’s destroyed. So the people who are normally the helpers can’t even help themselves,” Duplantis-Creppell said.

People from the bayou are used to storms, but the sheer wind force was something nobody was prepared for. Many were anticipating floodwaters, as seen in previous storms, and moved all their belongings to the attic. Now it is all blown away with their roofs.

“So this storm was a completely different monster than what we normally get,” Trahan-Ardoin said.

While some parts of the state are lucky enough to get back to normal, southern Terrebonne Parish is far from it.

“You’ve got to use the bathroom in a bucket every day and you can’t shower every day. This is not even close to being normal… If it wouldn’t be for my kid, I could do this. It wouldn’t bother me. But she [doesn’t] need to live like this,” Marcel said.

There are applications for temporary housing from FEMA pending now, but it is not clear to local leaders why it has not been approved yet. Relief aid dollars are also stalled in Washington D.C. as Congress debates over the debt ceiling.

People in Terrebonne Parish will continue to rebuild but it’s going to be a long journey so they’re asking people not to forget them in southeast Louisiana.

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