Although it came ashore as merely a Category 1 storm, Hurricane Isaac proved to be a severely destructive system for most of the River Parishes as it slowly made its way through south Louisiana. Despite the widespread damage and destruction in parts of LaPlace and other areas in South Louisiana, charity and non-profit officials have said the amount of donations and volunteers from across the nation is far below what was seen when Hurricane Katrina roared through the state in 2005.
This isn’t altogether surprising. Isaac’s victims here in St. John and in other parts of the state have suffered greatly, but Katrina was a larger-scale catastrophe that garnered worldwide attention. This simply means that much of the aid will have to come locally and this region has the ability to reach out to its fellow residents.
St. John Parish has seen a considerable amount of outreach from a handful of out-of-state groups, but it has been some of the local entities that have produced the most help. Local businesses have handed out food and supplies, local churches and faith-based groups have organized efforts to assist in gutting and rebuilding homes. Some, like New Wine Christian Fellowship, have even donated facilities for recovery stations and distribution points.
In the school system, where two campuses, East St. John High and Lake Pontchartrain Elementary, were temporarily shut down because of severe damage, the community has stepped forward to contribute supplies, work hours and facilities so that students could get back to the books as quickly as possible.
It has been nearly four weeks since Isaac made its way through the region. There is a long road to recovery, but when neighbors are able to help neighbors, the stress can be easier to bare.