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."
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.