‘We sleep in the car’: LaPlace homeowner shares recovery story

State News

LAPLACE, La. (BRPROUD) – Residents in LaPlace are picking up the pieces 11 days after Hurricane Ida.

LaPlace homeowner of 25 years, Audrey Pierre, lost almost everything in her home.

“My husband and I sleep at night in my vehicle,” Pierre said. “I back into the driveway. The battery last only so long and that’s when we really start suffering. This is the second time we [have] flooded out. This is the second time we started all over again.”

In 2009, Pierre’s daughter passed away — a photo is the only thing she was able to save. Her daughter’s death led Pierre to have a heart attack. Now, she’s scared she will have another due to Ida’s devastation.

“I salvage my daughter because it was above the water,” she said.

According to the St. John the Baptist Parish president, 60 percent of the parish’s homes have major damage and 10 percent are destroyed.

Councilman Michael Wright says the parish is in critical need of federal assistance.

“FEMA is here right now, but housing is a big need right now. There was a shortage prior to this, there is a shortage now,” he said.

Wright is warning residents the road to recovery will be a long one due to catastrophic damage and labor shortages. The parish had heavy wind damage and flooding. Wright is hopeful residents will stay and rebuild stronger.

“Currently, St. John has no levee protection. We [have] been taking about this levee for the past 30 plus years, we’re hoping we will have full levee protection for the next four years,” Wright said.

Pierre is scared to stay at a shelter because of COVID-19 concerns, but despite Ida’s devastation, she is grateful for her life.

“I could of died in the storm, but I woke up this morning,” she said.

According to Wright, starting Thursday lineman will focus on restoring power in neighborhoods.

Parish officials are urging residents to start applying for FEMA assistance. The following provides a list of resources available for St. John the Baptist Parish residents:

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