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‘Never going to be like it was’ | Hurricane Ida decimates 107-year-old Chauvin grocery

Cecil Lapeyrouse's grocery has been through two world wars, depressions, storms and pandemics, but it’s never see anything like Ida.

CHAUVIN, La. — Cecil Lapeyrouse’s Grocery has been standing in Chauvin for more than a century. It’s been through two world wars, depressions, storms and pandemics, but it’s never see anything like Ida.

Hurricane Ida tore down sheds, tossed gas tanks, pulled off parts of the roof and buckled the floor of the 107-year-old store, causing more damage than any storm to come before it.

“It's never going to be like it was, you know,” owner Cecil Lapeyrouse said. “You'll always see remnants of ‘Oh, that was done for Ida … It's never going to be back. Like it was.”

He’s not alone.

All up and down Chauvin, debris is piled higher than the small number of homes left standing. Clean water and power likely won't return any time soon.

But even when power comes back to their neighborhood, the Lapeyrouse’s likely won’t be able to use it. Their store and home, like so many homes in the area, will need extensive electrical work before they can safely turn the lights back on.

“If power was available to me today, I couldn’t turn this place on because there’s just too many loose ends,” Lapeyrouse said.

Volunteers are there distributing hot meals, clean water and ice, but what Cecil needs to get back on his feet is manpower.

“Just to finish cleaning up and getting things straight,” he said. “A lot of people don't have the money, but they just still need some help. This is tough for them, you know, and that's why it's going to take so long.”

It could be months, maybe more than a year before the grocery reopens and Cecil is back in his home with his family. But at Cecil Lapeyrouse’s Grocery, there was never doubt that they’d build back.

“I can guarantee you that we would not be able to have any kind of holidays in the shop so it'd be well into next year. You know, I'd like to be able to be open today, you know, but I mean it's just, it's not possible that soon, with this, this amount of damage

“It’s going to be alright, we’re going to stay with it, you know?”

If you can help, reach out to Cecil and Etta Lapeyrouse by email at CELaperouse@bellsouth.net.

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