Thousands still without housing in Lafourche two months after Hurricane Ida made landfall


LAFOURCHE, La. (WGNO) — It’s been nearly two months since Hurricane Ida slammed Southeast Louisiana and many people still don’t have housing.

“Like, I think the worst wall personally are going to be outer walls,” said Lafourche resident Marilyn Fitch.

Fitch walked WGNO reporter LeBron Joseph (LBJ) through the damage to her now unlivable century-old home in along Bayou Lafourche, but she’s one of the few residents in the parish that is finally receiving temporary housing.

Many in the hard-hit parts of the parish are sleeping wherever they can.

“If it wasn’t for neighbors we’d be there too,” she said.

Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson says all critical infrastructure like water, power, and sewerage are back up and running, temporary housing is now the critical need.

“52 days out, we’ve screamed and screamed for it,” said Chaisson. “We’ve told FEMA all along that, especially after Laura and Delta last year when you went through this same exercise in Southwest Louisiana. It should not be this difficult.”

Hundreds of travel trailers provided by the state have arrived to service Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. They await approval and procedures to be installed. Only seven temporary FEMA houses have arrived and for some they have come with a level of frustration as well.

Troy Rogers was first approved for a trailer, and then denied

“Right now I’m living in one room in the house on an air mattress with mold all around me. I got COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease),” said Rogers of Terrebonne. “Washington called me this morning and told me my land doesn’t qualify for.”

All in all, the parish president gives FEMA high ranks for the initial response but feels that on housing the agency needs work.

“Where I fail them is in the housing front and where I will continue to fail them is in the aftermath front,” admitted Chaisson.

And while the wait for many is tough, Fitch had a message for her neighbors

“I say hang on, they’ll get to ’em,” she said.

According to parish officials, the big holdup involves surveying the property for proper space and available utilities. Temporary housing also requires contractors to set them up. President Chaisson said he hopes to have the 2,000 families in temporary homes within the next 30 days.

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