Lafitte fishermen offered much needed resources at JEDCO resource fair

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JEAN LAFITTE, La. (WGNO) — Hurricane Ida flipped Lafitte’s fishing industry upside down, leaving the seafood industry in shambles and a community of fishermen, like Scott Sugasti, searching for relief.

“My boat got thrown in between a bunch of houses, I had to cut pieces off of it to get it out and fix it. I lost at least 100 crab traps,” said Sugasti.

Sugasti is one of dozens of fishermen in the area who are looking for help to rebuild their business, but help has finally arrived.

“We’re trying to bring all of the resource partners together at one place and make sure all of our fishermen, oystermen and all of the seafood industries know what’s available to them,” said Jerry Bologna, President and CEO of the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission.

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, also known as JEDCO, held a resource fair at Lafitte’s multipurpose center to help connect fishermen to the financial aid they need to get back on their boats.

“Organizations like our own, JEDCO, are offering low interest loans to fishermen to repurpose their fleet or get their fleet back in service,: said Bologna.

Local leaders say the event was critical for the seafood business, which is a huge economic driver for the entire state.

“We have one supplier open right now, all the other ones — some might not come back — we’re pushing for them to come, but those are the people that need help,” said Tim Kerner Jr., Mayor of Jean Lafitte.

The “Focus on our Fishermen” fair was the first, but isn’t expected to be the last. The next stop JEDCO hopes to make is in Grand Isle.

Organizations like FEMA and the Small Business Administration along with several other local groups. Right now, there’s no word on when the Grand Isle resource fair will happen, but JEDCO says these resources are still available for Jefferson Parish fishermen who need help.

For more information about the resources available, visit www.jedco.org

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