NEW ORLEANS — It was just a year ago when our neighbors in Florida helped us after Hurricane Ida. Now, Louisiana is returning the favor.
Crews at the St. Bernard Project loaded up trucks with supplies Friday afternoon. They'll be driven by their assessment team to Florida this weekend.
But it's not just the water, gas, tarps, and other supplies that make the trip important — it's the hurricane recovery knowledge they're bringing that will make the biggest difference.
"What we know is that our lived experience here in New Orleans can pay forward in Florida," SBP's Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Corley said. "We understand what it means to recover from a flood."
The supplies will be driven by SBP's assessment team, led by Hannah Roberts. As the Senior Project Manager, Roberts has been on the ground for several major storms. Her goal on this trip is to help set people up for long-term recovery.
"We need to lay eyes on the areas, see what partners are out there, see what resources are needed," Roberts said. "Our mission is to shrink (recovery) time. And having the most experienced folks on the ground allows us to do that."
The St. Bernard Project isn't the only team heading to Florida this weekend.
Scott Hedge is packing his Jeep full of supplies and driving to Florida. His parents rode out the storm in their home. Now, their neighborhood is running low on supplies.
"They had a lot of total loss houses in their neighborhood, but they're doing alright," Hedge said. "They're burning through a lot of supplies though."
That's why he turned his usual burger pop-up, Degenerate Burger, into a supply drive for Hurricane Ian victims. He says the response has been overwhelming.
"Everybody's willing to help," Hedge said. "I think a lot of New Orleanians have been through it before. And they know what it takes to recover from it."
They also know how good it feels to get a helping hand from a stranger. That's why Corley says so many people in Louisiana have been so eager to help.
"We had folks from Florida churches and civic groups and corporate groups come out and volunteer with us to help those down the bayou who were hurt," he said. "So, this is our moment as SBP to really give back to those who came and helped us at our time of need."
If you'd like to donate or volunteer with the St. Bernard Project, visit their website here.
Scott Hedge's supply drive is set for Friday night at Pat's Out in the Cold in the Irish Channel. He says he'll likely do more in the future. Visit his Instagram page of the latest information.