St. Bernard Chamber lends a helping hand in LaPlace

Published 10:45 am Sunday, September 26, 2021

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LAPLACE — When St. Bernard was devastated by Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago, help poured in from the surrounding parishes. Now the roles are reversed, and Elizabeth Dauterive of the St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce said it was their turn to help neighbors in St. John the Baptist Parish recover from Hurricane Ida.

The St. Bernard Chamber partnered with the River Region Chamber of Commerce in LaPlace and worked closely with Executive Director Chassity McComack to coordinate efforts.

Shortly after the storm, representatives of the St. Bernard Chamber participated in “Operation BBQ” and served hundreds of hot meals to St. John Parish residents in front of the St. John ARC building in LaPlace.

St. Bernard Chamber representatives returned to LaPlace this week with an 18-wheeler containing a week’s worth of non-perishable food for 80 local families.

Dauterive said the St. Bernard Chamber worked in partnership with the Irene Campbell Foundation to deliver donations to LaPlace. The Chamber has also partnered with St. Bernard Parish Economic Development to establish a fund and secure monetary donations to benefit victims of Hurricane Ida.

The pallets of food were delivered to the Lloyd B. Johnson Law Enforcement Training Center on Cambridge Drive in LaPlace Tuesday morning.

“We are giving it to law enforcement so they can distribute it within the community. We know how to get the supplies, but they know the need here more than we do,” Dauterive said. “We want to give back. We want to help as much as we can in the areas that were affected to help you guys get back on your feet and provide the resources that we can help with.”

Captain Charles “Chip” Wale of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office said the food boxes will be distributed among the hardest hit areas north of Airline Highway, in addition to impoverished neighborhoods across the parish.

The St. John Sheriff’s Office has been giving out ice, water, food and supplies since Hurricane Ida struck more nearly a month ago. Officers have also maintained constant contact with residents in the Protecting Our Precious Seniors (POPS) program.

“For those who rode it out, we’ve done our best to stay in contact with them and get them the supplies that they need. We actually have a team of officers who are constantly going out getting them stuff they need to carry on,” Wale said. “We’ve been here from the beginning. We’ve worked all the way through the storm, and we’ve worked with the volunteer organizations to make sure the donations that we’ve received are distributed in the community.”

River Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chassity McComack was grateful for the love shown to the community.

“There’s an old saying, ‘it takes a village’. And that’s exactly what this type of help means. There’s not enough words of thanks for this fellow chamber,” McComack said. “Sincerest thanks to our St. Bernard Chamber friends for yet again, stepping up to help us in a time of need. Post Ida, they also assisted us in volunteering to help serve 500 meals to the residents of St. John Parish. We truly appreciate each of you for your heart, dedication and contribution as we work to rebuild our communities.”