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Finding hope amid tragedy: Lafourche Parish shelters Hurricane Laura evacuees

“People in Southeast Louisiana and this area have a heart. When times are tough, we get together,” said Jeff Reulet with Lifting Hands Ministry.

THIBODAUX, La. — There are several dozen Hurricane Laura evacuees staying in Lafourche Parish. They can’t return to their neighborhoods, many likely won’t have power for weeks. It is -- without question -- a difficult time for those without government assistance or insurance, however one local group is working to help. 

At the Days Inn in Thibodaux, Anna Mathis has never felt so far from home. She cannot return to Lake Charles, her house seriously damaged by Laura. 

“We went home to check on our house and it was just unbelievable, overwhelming,” said Mathis. 

Mathis evacuated with her sister-in-law, a hospice patient with pancreatic cancer. This hotel room is not where her family wanted her to live out her final days. 

“Being displaced and you aren’t at home, can’t lay in your own bed,” said Mathis. “I am just asking God -- I just wish we could go home. If she go... I would rather her be at home.”

There are at least 30 hurricane Laura evacuees staying in two seperate hotels in Thibodaux, including Ashlan Miller, Troy Mott and their three young children, unable to go back to their trailer in West Lake.

“We stayed one night there (in the trailer after the storm) and I had heat exhaustion and threw up all night. He (Troy) had to carry me and we had to get the kids out as soon as daylight broke.”

While the storm left so many homeless, it has not left these families hopeless. 

“People in Southeast Louisiana and this area have a heart. When times are tough, we get together,” said Jeff Reulet with Lifting Hands Ministry.  

Reulet’s group organized help from community members, who offered to pay for the many victims' hotel rooms who did not help from insurance or help from government programs. Local restaurants donated hot food, too.

“It’s nice to not have to stress and cry because I don’t know what my kids are going to eat,” said Miller. 

The group even secured a hospice nurse to help Mathis’s sister-in-law three days a week. 

Now, as these families wait to put the pieces of their lives back together, they can’t help but feel thankful.

“It’s not really about the material things because a home you can replace but you just can’t replace another life,” Mathis.  

“It’s more than I can put into words how grateful I am,” said Miller. 

If you’d like to help -- you can find more info at the Lifting Hands Ministry’s facebook page

This weekend they plan to drive to Lake Charles to feed hungry storm victims.

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