NEW ORLEANS -- Piled high for all to see are the storm-damaged possessions that belong to families living in one LaPlace subdivision.
Rosalind Hutson’s front lawn is no different.
“We have to take everything out, but I’d like to see if there is something we can salvage,” she said.
As Hurricane Isaac pounded St. John the Baptist Parish, Hutson and her husband waited at their front door to be rescued from rising flood water.
“We came back this way, just to get out the front door,” Hutson said.
A week later evacuees are returning to save what they can and start over, but strangers – as our camera captured – are also showing up to these battered subdivisions, helping themselves to anything and everything.
“I said, please, let me go through that stuff,” Hutson said. “They said, oh, that lady with the curly hair says we can have it. I said that lady with the curly hair don’t live here. I don’t know who she was talking about. I don’t know anyone with curly hair.”
St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Trege said deputies and the National Guard are making regular patrols in devastated areas.
“The looting cases we’re investigating are citizens calling us regarding their discarded items they place in their front yards,” Trege said. “Of course they have people who are taking advantage of the items considered debris to many.”
Trege confirms that more than half the calls his office receives about possible looting don’t turn out to be actual looters.
“Today a U-Haul was out there collecting appliances,” Tregre said. “We get over there and we grab him. We detain him. He said the homeowner gave him permission; we knock on the door and the homeowner says yes.”
As these LaPlace neighborhoods begin sifting through the water-logged belongings Isaac left behind.
Hutson and her neighbors have one request: leave what little they have left, alone.
“It amazes me because these are the people that come here, well dressed with their large earrings, their trailers, and their trucks,” Hutson said. “They’re just piling it up.”
The sheriff’s office says because a state of emergency is still in place, a 10 p.m. curfew is still in effect. This weekend it will be bumped up until midnight.
Checkpoints are also up and running, and people will be asked to show law enforcement officers their identification.