The coronavirus is devastating the westbank of Jefferson Parish. Particularly hitting the African-American of Harvey and Marrero hard.
Jefferson Parish councilman Byron Lee believes the virus spread through this tight knit suburban area during church services.
“People who worship every Sunday, and they go to the local churches. They communicate in such a way that is very close. Some of those people had the virus and didn’t know it,” says Councilman Lee.
Pastor Donald Perrier lives in the Spanish Oaks neighborhood in Harvey. He caught and is now recovered from COVID-19.
“I go to church and I couldn’t get up. I felt tired, couldn’t eat nothing and everything was irritating me,” says Perrier.
Perrier believes that he caught the virus while at a Sunday service.
“Some people say I got it from church. In church, I sit to the back, rather than the pulpit at the front. I like to sit in the back, because I like to greet people. That’s where I think I got it from,” says the pastor.
After several weeks of staying indoors away from family, friends, and neighbors, he finally went back to church last Sunday.
“I think God gave it to me first, to show the people that if it can happen to me, and I’m the pastor it could happen to anybody,” says Perrier.
Councilman Lee started an initiative bring awareness to the virus’ presence his district. He is currently working to get more mobile testing sites to Westbank neighborhoods.
Unfortunately the number of deaths has already taken its toll.
“It was sad to see it, many people that I knew, good people. Pillars of the community who died. Many of them over the age of sixty. It was devestating to many of us. It was very tough,” says Lee.