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Tregre: Mother Nature doesn’t keep us down

Mother Nature came to visit St. John Parish on Feb. 23 … again.

She forced us to come together as we have done many times in the past. It appears everyone received some type of notice that she was coming because most people were prepared.

I’ve heard stories of people getting to safety by diving in bath tubs, covering themselves with blankets and pillows. Others piled up in kitchen pantries or closets.

Some sought shelter under their beds. No lives lost. It was a miracle! Fortunately, this disaster struck in the daytime, because it is very likely that a nighttime strike would have caught most people off guard and at home for the evening.

Yes, Mother Nature brought us together alright — St. John Sheriff’s Office, St. John Parish Fire Department, Louisiana State Police, DOTD, Entergy, Red Cross, Governor’s Office, Emergency Operations Center, pod distribution points, contractors AND thieves.

It’s unfortunate we’ve had vast experience in dealing with crisis in St. John Parish. But just days after the tornado, we were in full recovery mode from road closures, power outages, numerous telephone poles, power lines and trees blocking streets and highways.

And the residents have expressed their appreciation whenever they see our first responders out on the job.  We appreciate the compliments.

However, not everything was sweet and rosy. We did receive a few complaints. Why is the traffic so bad? Why do I have to take River Road? Why do we need a curfew because I did not have any damage? Why is this taking so long?

Some people were not happy about the inconveniences, but that was expected. No matter how hard you try, some people will still complain.

Now it’s time to regroup and assess what we could have done better or differently.

There isn’t much. Getting our Parish back up and running as fast as we did, took time, effort, energy, organization and communication of multiple government entities.

As Sheriff, I would like to tell everyone how proud I am of the members of SJSO and especially the 911 dispatchers who handled thousands of incoming calls in a few days.

I want the citizens to know that St. John Parish has some very caring, dedicated and professional public servants watching over us. It does the soul good to see people helping people. Can we face anything more from Mother Nature? Are we made of Teflon? Have we been battle tested enough in St. John Parish by Mother Nature?

I would like to think so.

So the recovery is full swing now. Contractors, insurance agents and delivery trucks are flooding the area.

The sounds hammers, saws and brick masons will take over for a while. For the rest of us, it’s back to work or back to school. Now where was I before this visit from Mother Nature? That’s right …. golf carts!

Mike Tregre is Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. He can be reached at sheriff@stjohnsheriff.org.