Across the country, many companies are moving quickly to help their employees. Wal-Mart has pledged jobs at other stores for out-of-work employees, and McDonald's is promising to continue paying displaced workers. Locally, convenience store conglomerate Shop Rite is posting "Help Wanted" signs at more than 60 Shop Rite and Tobacco Plus stores throughout the state, and Sonic is transferring workers from its 10 New Orleans area stores, as well as hiring other franchisees' employees.
"Anyone who has relocated or is displaced, we're taking them in, anywhere they want to go," says Gary Wilkerson, vice president of Kergan Brothers, which owns 40 Sonic stores throughout south Louisiana.
Even with their lives in upheaval, most of Lafayette's evacuees are ready to get to work, says Henry Florsheim, vice president of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. "I went to the Cajundome to pass out job fair flyers, and as I was putting them up a lot of people were walking up asking for them," he says. "It'll give them some money so they can get out of the shelter. We want to get people working as soon as possible."
Thirty-one-year-old Marguerite Christoval, who fled New Orleans' West Bank with a large entourage of family members, wants to work partly to help escape the stress of the situation. The generosity of a local family is providing her and her children with temporary housing, and the former customer service specialist with the City of New Orleans' traffic court wants an income so that she can find permanent housing in Lafayette. "I just want my own money. I am ready to get back to work to take my mind off of what's going on around me," says Christoval, whose husband is a New Orleans police officer still working in the city.
Last week, Lafayette Consolidated Government was awarded National Emergency Grant funds to provide federal assistance for 470 temporary public service jobs [in non-profit and government sectors] for evacuees like Christoval. For up to 12 weeks, participants will be paid $9 an hour and can work 40-hour weeks. Lafayette Workforce Investment Board Executive Administrator Glenn Dugas urges all non-profits and government agencies to contact his office with available positions, as monies from any unfilled positions will be returned to the federal government. (For more information, call the LCG's Workforce Investment Act office at (337) 291-7034.)
Florsheim's Cajundome flyer advertised an "Evacuee Job Fair" held Monday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in conjunction with UL Lafayette, LCG and the State Department of Labor. Companies like The Lemoine Co., Halliburton and Northwestern Mutual participated, offering jobs ranging from unskilled laborers to engineers, financial advisers and construction managers. The fair came on the heels of last Friday's Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce seminar, which provided resources for businesses or individuals seeking office space, employment and information on relocating their businesses to Lafayette. (Those who missed the seminar can contact Patricia Parks at the chamber office at 233-2705; additional seminars will be held every Friday until further notice.) Additionally, any companies with openings can send a description of the job to the "virtual LEDA job fair" at www.lafayette.org/jobs. LEDA's Florsheim says more job fairs like the one held Monday at Cajun Field may be forthcoming.
Assistance is also coming from the financial services community. Financial adviser DeAnne Henke is donating her time to help evacuees with their investing and financial needs so they can access money to get back on their feet. She's also devoted her Web site, www.moneylifelines.com, as a resource for what area banks are offering, which car finance companies are waiving payments and for how long and where to seek other financial help, like FEMA funding.
Florsheim says the placement of employees has been quick. By Thursday of last week, Lafayette General Medical Center had hired 35 nurses and three pharmacists, all evacuees, and the number is growing, says Director of Human Resources Diane Broussard. The hospital has various openings but is fast-tracking the hiring of nurses, already in short supply before the hurricane. For a list of opportunities, visit the hospital's job center at www.lafayettegeneral.com.
"We're currently treating 65-70 New Orleans area inpatients," says Donna Landry, LGMC's chief operating officer. "To put it in perspective," says Landry, "our inpatient daily census of 100-120 pre-Katrina has held at anywhere from 210-270-plus since Katrina."
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Oscar de la Renta dies; Pistorius sentenced; World Series begins and more national and international news for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.