On the anniversary of the August 2016 flood, residents on the Northshore remembered the day by focusing on their progress.
About 10,000 people registered for assistance following the flood. On the anniversary of the flood, that response was remembered and renewed.
For one resident in Ponchatoula, Tonni Bode, she is proud to finally show off her new kitchen.
“I was literally lost and God via phone call started all this in motion and it's been overwhelming. It really has been,” Bode said.
Bode said that about two feet of water came into her home during the flood, requiring her to be rescued by boat. Since then, she has been on the harrowing journey to recovery.
“It's been rough, but it's been rough on how many people? and there's so many people I know worse off than me. And for some reason, I was so blessed,” Bode said.
Bode says her guardian angels were the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and the Epworth Project out of Slidell.
“Just three days, we were able to stand up a warehouse, start receiving, sorting and distributing goods directly into the community. And we worked with 90-plus partner organizations,” Jamene Dahmer, of United Way, said.
Specialty groups from around the region, such as the disaster feeding group Operation BBQ, worked night and day for weeks to get people back on their feet and back in their homes. On the eve of the anniversary, many of those volunteers and survivors were together once again celebrating how far the community has come.
“Today, it looks like recovery is well on its way. We still have some people that are working on their homes and get back up but there's a lot to be grateful for,” Mike Whitlow, of Operation BBQ, said.
However, the work is not over. Many residents are still recovering and organizations like the United Way are staying on board to see them through.
“We want to be a part of this. It's not over yet. Don't forget because we're still struggling. It's been one year, but it'll take a little longer,” Dahmer said.
The United Way says they are committing to sticking with 80 families moving forward. That help includes rebuilding, rehousing or anything that will make their lives easier long-term.
Those who wish to help with that effort can visit UnitedWaySELA.com