Beacon of Hope volunteers set up in LaPlace

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 10 at 11:41 AM

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LAPLACE, La. - With tools at the ready, several dozen Tulane University students waited for their assignments that would take them into the waterlogged reality of St. John Parish.

"I would have been sleeping til 1, if I wasn't here, so I figured I've seen some things that need some help, so I might as well get out of bed and do it," said Kelly Messenger, a Tulane University student.

Students are just some of the volunteers brought to LaPlace by the New Orleans non-profit "Beacon of Hope."

The organization began seven years ago, after Hurricane Katrina.

"FEMA's coming around, picking up the debris, but no one is caring for the resident and their immediate needs. So, the volunteers all over, from New Orleans, have really pitched in to help,"  said Denise Thornton of Beacon of Hope.

More than 10 days after Hurricane Isaac cut a path across Southeast Louisiana, people are now beginning the slow and painful process of ridding their homes of all that is damaged.

As the clean-up begins in St. John Parish, the scene of people's waterlogged belongings ruined on the curb becomes a common sight. 

Among them, Joseph Powe, a volunteer with Beacon of Hope after Katrina, turned to them for a helping hand.

"Brothers helping brothers across the waters, across the shores-- LaPlace meets New Orleans," Powe said.

Beacon of Hope is partnering with numerous other groups, including Catholic Charities and St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in LaPlace, a place that will become a base of operations for their recovery efforts.

"We have to let people know that there is help and information and resources," said Tina Marquardt of  Beacon of Hope.

"Unfortunately, sometimes it takes having gone through the experience yourself, in order for you to appreciate the sufferings and the heartaches of what people are going through at a time like this," said  Father John Tran of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.

There is a mutual understanding of heartache, shared between the volunteers who have been there and the residents now dealing with it.

 

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