A message from Parish President Hotard

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2022

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It’s been four months since Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on our beloved parish.

On August 29, 2021, St. John the Baptist Parish was devastated by a storm that initially wasn’t even forecasted to be our battle, yet left the vast majority of homes, schools and businesses damaged.

In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday, and in other ways it feels like it’s been forever since our home parish – and our personal residences – truly felt like home.

I am continuously thankful that no lives were lost, and that is due to the heroic efforts of our first responders in rescuing – and saving the lives of – more than 900 people. Our crews and responders overcame huge challenges such as clearing the roads after the storm and providing residents with emergency supplies. They are true heroes.

As time marches on, we as a parish are visibly moving ahead and the progress is a testament to the dedication and resilience of our entire community working together toward recovery.

A quickly activated debris contract helped get debris removed early on, and to date almost a million cubic yards has been collected. Additionally, FEMA and the SBA have assisted residents with almost $150 million in losses and the ramp up of the Ida Sheltering Program has assisted over 400 families with long-term housing and more is on the way.

All these facts alone are important, but when put together mean so much for St. John. We are making progress.

But with any progress there are growing pains and trials. Being personally impacted by Hurricane Ida, I fully understand the challenges many residents face as they navigate through complex issues such as FEMA and insurance claims and other disaster-related issues.

To help with these complex issues, I brought in free legal services in the wake of Ida. Disaster Legal Assistance is available by appointment by calling 225-448-0080 ext. 336.

Although there is still a long road ahead, nothing can take away the strength of our community. There could never be enough praise for the perseverance and hard work of residents and the business community who all focused on recovery – and helping each other – even as we struggle with our own personal challenges.

Please join me in continuing to pray for our community and know that as a parish we have all hands and resources on deck working on behalf of our residents.

Although we have been bruised, we are not broken, and I have never been more grateful and honored to be part of this community than I am now.

Hurricane Ida will forever be remembered as one of the most catastrophic storms to hit St. John; however, we have overcome before and will overcome again.

  • Parish President Jaclyn Hotard