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House-high debris blocks driveways and progress in Laplace

“It’s like we have just been forgotten. And these people around here, we’re angry. We are angry,” she said.

LAPLACE, La. — The neighborhood Staci Rossbach has lived in for four years doesn’t even feel familiar. Nearly a month after Ida destroyed LaPlace, the piles of drywall and ruined belongings are as high as some of the homes.

Rossbach says nothing – even her regular trash – has been picked up in a month.

“It’s like we have just been forgotten. And these people around here, we’re angry. We are angry,” she said.

The piles are in front of nearly every house along her street and nearby. The contents of flooded homes, now gutted, pile six to ten feet high.

“I’m barely holding it together,” she said. “I’m so angry that all the help that they claim is here, we’re not seeing it. This area is not seeing it.”

Rossbach’s home took on three feet of floodwater during the storm. She and her family, along with three animals, could not evacuate in time.

Water started pouring in through the front and back doors. Her family rushed to the attic, terrified. Soon later, a massive tree came down on the roof.

She teared up recounting the fearful hours as Ida sat over their home, bringing torrential rain and devastating winds.

But it’s hard to move forward, she said, when a month later, the evidence is still piling up at her doorstep.

“Every time you come out, you’ve got to relive it all over again. And I can’t … I can’t do this anymore. My mind is just so… it’s not right,” she said. “We’re human beings like this. We shouldn’t have to keep living like this.”

St. John the Baptist Parish has pleaded for patience. A parish spokesperson told Eyewitness News Thursday that 27 debris trucks are working parish-wide.

Wednesday alone, they rid the parish of 329 loads of debris. As of Wednesday, more than 200,000 cubic yards had been removed from the parish.

They say that residents can expedite the process by separating debris. Vegetation, household debris, and appliances should be separated if they’re possible. 

They’re also asking residents to avoid putting debris near fire hydrants and mailboxes, which slow down the pickup process or cause damage.

Metro says it’s trying to work on a whole other issue – trash. Metro hired subcontractors last weekend to empty more cans and say they plan to do so this weekend as well.

But the parish received no emergency bids for trash pickup because companies across Louisiana are stretched so thin as it is.

If you talk to residents, everyone is.

“I’m trying. I’m usually a very strong person. But right now I’ve got some… I’m shattering,” said Rossbach.

For her, there’s no way to start a new chapter until the last one is out of her front yard.

She can’t get any kind of contractor or clean-up vehicle in her driveway until the piles are gone.

“Come here, clean it up, let us start our life again. Let us start all over again. Give us that breathing room,” she said.

St. John Parish says it hopes everyone in the parish will have had at least one pass from the debris truck in the next few weeks.