"Everything that's been done has come from community volunteers," says New Iberia Mayor Hilda Curry. "If it hadn't been for the locals and the United Way, I don't know what we would have done." New Iberia has two shelters located in the civic centers in City and West End parks, housing approximately 500 people. There are 1,200 evacuees residing in the parish's motels and state parks. And scores of evacuees are staying in private homes.
The agencies committed to support these disaster victims have yet to provide financial support. "FEMA isn't in at all," says Jim Anderson, Iberia Parish's director of emergency management. "None of the people have gotten Red Cross vouchers; none have gotten FEMA checks."
Meanwhile the city is paying increased utilities to keep the two civic centers running as shelters, as well as overtime for park staff and police. "I don't have any idea what it's costing a day," Curry says. "We have 500 people taking showers. The police are working 24 hours. We just authorized the city to keep paying the bills while we wait for FEMA to reimburse us."
The Red Cross arrived without supplies, according to Curry. The community has donated medical services, food, transportation, help with social security and food stamps, registration for school and employment assistance. "Everything we need has been given," Red Cross volunteer Cathy Williams says. "Prescriptions have been filled free by local pharmacies. For four weeks we have a schedule of 500 meals that have been donated and cooked. There are mental health counselors every day. Companies from the port [of Iberia] are hiring. People have no money, but the people of the community are taking care of them."
The concern is how long this outpouring of generosity can be sustained until FEMA arrives with options and finances for evacuee populations.
Some problems could be alleviated this week. The Red Cross should be taking over meals any day now, and FEMA representatives have been in contact with city government and Anderson, looking for long-term housing. Curry says existing trailer slots are the priority. "We have about 70, in the Mixon trailer park," she says. "And there are 35 houses on the demolition list. We are asking for money to renovate them."
Contingency plans are moving forward, and city officials are meeting with the ministerial council. "There are 165 families in the shelters," Curry says. "We're looking for a local family to adopt each one, to help them find their way around here. If we work with family members, we might find a way to help people get jobs and relocate them. We have been working as a community to try to provide services that haven't materialized. We can't wait for FEMA."
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.