PONCHATOULA, La. (BRPROUD) – Hurricane Ida recovery for some has been slow and housing continues to be a challenge throughout the southern part of the state as many people in harder-hit areas are still displaced.
Erin Loupe spends about three to four hours a day just driving to work in New Orleans, back home to Des Allemands, and then finally to her camper to sleep for the night in Ponchatoula, she says the last few weeks have been exhausting but she has no choice but to stay strong for her family.
“There is still a need in our area even though everything is starting to pull out,” said Loupe.
She and her family have not slept in their own beds in three weeks. Since Hurricane Ida, the family has gone from state park to state park and is now living out of a camper in Ponchatoula. Unsure if they have a home to go back to, the family is lodging over an hour away from their home in Des Allemands.
“We had two two-by-four’s sticking out of the side of it, the underneath of the mobile home was ripped out so all the AC vents were on the ground, it was picked up and moved off the foundation,” said Loupe.
Loupe said while the family is displaced she is also unsure of when her children will be able to go back to school.
“My oldest son, it’s his senior year in high school, so I want to at least stay until he finishes his senior year. I promised him when he got to high school we would stay in one spot,” said Loupe.
As she fights to keep that promise, she also said now is not the time to find different educational options.
“My youngest has special needs, he was diagnosed with autism and then bipolar so he’s finally at a school where they get him,” said Loupe.
18-year-old Dylan Turner said life has been hectic since Hurricane Ida with not knowing what’s next and still wanting to finish out a normal senior year.
“One of our buildings, the roof is gone, the wall for the gym is gone,” said Turner.
For Loupe, it’s been hard watching surrounding areas bounce back while her community is still struggling.
“I know a lot of people living in campers, they may be living in campers in their front yard, they may be living not even having power,” said Loupe.
While she’s not sure what the next move is for her and her family, she’s grateful they still have a roof over their heads.
“It may not be our home but it’s a temporary home, it is a temporary roof, it’s our temporary beds,” said Loupe.
As recovery efforts continue Loupe just wants to make sure harder hit areas like St. Charles Parish are not forgotten.
“Just because I’m not sleeping there… I’m still a part of that community,” said Loupe.