KNOE, First West deliver supplies to storm victims in Lafitte

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 11:58 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 8:24 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - KNOE and First West spent the past few days collecting donations for hurricane victims. On Sept. 27, an 18-wheeler full of supplies was delivered to Lafitte, Louisiana.

It’s a welcome sight for many of the church members at Barataria Baptist Church. The delivery means they can help even more members of the community who are working to rebuild weeks after Ida hit.

“To witness some of the devastation first hand I think we can become numb to that,” says Clint Gulde, a volunteer with First West Baptist Church who helped deliver supplies. “We can see the ground now starting to dry up and see some of the spirit in the community here where they feel like have control over their own circumstances because they’re able to clean.”

The storm made landfall for the first time as a dangerous Category 4 storm in Port Fourchon, La on August 29th. It made a second landfall near Galliano, La.

“It’s pretty much like a warzone at this point so the community needs all the help that it can get,” says Cory Polkey. He says he lost everything when Hurricane Ida. If he had the choice, he said he wouldn’t ride out a storm like that again. He says his car was in the driveway before the storm, and now it’s been pushed to the other side of his house. Unfortunately, Polkey says they don’t think they’ll be able to salvage anything.

First West brought paper products, snacks, cleaning supplies, etc to help stock the Barataria Baptist Church. They’re giving out supplies, basic necessities, and hot meals for free to those in need.

“And each person you see working here has severe damage everybody had damage to their house one way or the other,” says Patrick Henderson, a Barataria Baptist Church member.

At one point, Henderson says the Barataria Baptist Church had about 30 inches of water. They had to rip out the drywall and Henderson says a group is coming in to help them repair it in the coming weeks.

Henderson says his home had damage, but thankfully the mud didn’t come into his house because it’s elevated.

“Two weeks ago I was on the other side I was receiving now we’ve done a lot of work we’re getting our house back straight,” says Henderson. “It’s a lot, lot better serving than being served.”

“It’s true that we all have very busy lives but these people down here had very busy lives too before Ida hit and now they’re busy with other things in the recovery process,” said volunteer Clint Gulde.”So it’s not a huge sacrifice for us to be able to, whether it’s contributing items to the list or whether we drove down here to help unload the truck.”

“It’s so meaningful you know the large amount of people that’s reaching out to help other people that they’ll never meet, they’ll never know,” says Henderson. “But they’re really, really doing a good service, not just in this community, but west of here the destruction goes maybe 60 miles.

Multiple people said the mud is the worst part about the recovery because it’s so difficult to get past it to start the clean-up process.

“I’ve never seen mud like this. I’ve seen Katrina and all my family is from Plaquemines Parish where we got hit hard by Katrina and they didn’t have mud like this,” says Nicholas Dinet, owner of Boutte’s Bayou Restaurant and Nick’s Marina in Lafitte. Both of his businesses were decimated by the storm.

“My wife, we ate here when we first started dating and we ate here for our rehearsal dinner and all for our marriage and there’s many stories that people could say about this restaurant down here,” says Dinet. “I also have a marina, Nick’s Marina further down and it was wiped out by the water it came and just wiped us out, put boats on the bank and all. Our whole life we always knew it was a possibility to have it but it’s just heartbreaking that less than seven miles from here they have a levee if they would have come a little further with the levee we might have been ok.”

Just a few months ago he says his restaurant was redone during the show, Restaurant: Impossible. Now, he’s looking at starting from the beginning.

“Just don’t forget about us. We don’t want something for nothing, we’ll work hard for it, we’ll take care of our own but this time I think we need a little help,” says Dinet.

While donations are wonderful, South Louisiana is really in need of manpower. Phillip Thigpen with First West says groups down in Lafitte are looking for volunteers to help people recover. You can reach out to him at (318) 410-0999 and he’ll get you in touch with those in need.

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