"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."
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.