CUT OFF, La. — In the heart of Lafourche Parish, the need is great.
But the community is greater.
Sacred Heart Church has become the go-to spot for people to get hot meals, cleaning supplies and anything else they need after Hurricane Ida. Powered entirely by volunteer and donations, Sacred Heart serves thousands of meals a day and gives out supplies by the trunk-load.
“It started with a little seed that evolved into this ginormous distribution site,” coordinator Trixy Boudreaux said. “It just started with a small group delivering some non-perishables and water and some things our community needed at the time.”
From there, lines started forming at the church and truck loads of supplies from around the country started coming in.
“It was really, really a blessing at a time when we truly needed it,” Fr. Joey Lirette said.
Volunteers came quickly as well. The tight-knit Cut Off community came together, putting their own problems to the side to help others.
“We don’t even have to ask,” Lirette said. “We have a few volunteers who have no homes. Their homes were destroyed and they’re here volunteering every day. That’s what kind of community we have.”
Boudreaux and Lirette agree that housing is the biggest issues in Lafourche Parish right now. They’ve been able to give people tents, window AC units and generators, but it’s not enough.
“It’s bad down here,” Boudreaux said. “We need people that can help in the housing department to come down here and give these people some temporary homes because people … are desperate down here.”
People like Daniel Francis, whose entire block was taken out by Hurricane Ida.
“Before the storm I had six (neighbors). They all gone,” he said.
Francis lost his truck to the storm, but Sacred Heart has been bringing supplies to him while he tries to salvage his house.
“I’m waiting on FEMA right now,” Francis said. “Filled out a form and they’re supposed to get in touch with me 10-15 days. If I don’t hear nothing, I have to call them back.”
When he does hear back from FEMA, they likely won’t have immediate housing to offer him in the area.
FEMA Spokesperson John Mills said that the federal disaster aid organization has been focused on giving people money for housing, which he said is the fastest way the federal government can help people find a safe place to stay.
Temporary housing, such as a travel trailer, could take months to get in place and would likely come from someone at the state or parish level.
“When FEMA is asked to bring in housing that can be more challenging and complicated because No. 1, we’re still in hurricane season and No. 2, a lot of these areas are in high-risk flood zones,” Mills said. “You don’t just bring it in and leave it. It’s really a request that were getting for construction projects in different areas.”
It’s not what people in Lafourche parish want to hear, but they’re still grateful for the blessings they have after Hurricane Ida.
“Outta the whole neighborhood, I’m glad I still got a house,” Francis said.
“I just can’t say it enough how grateful I am to everyone who has donated and who will donate because I know it’s not going to stop,” Lirette said.
If you'd like to donate to Sacred Heart Church in Cutoff, call the church's main office at 985 -632-3858.