Catholic Charities

A Lafayette home damaged by a fallen tree is visited Saturday by volunteers with Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities of Acadiana’s disaster-response teams and their partners fanned out into the Lafayette community Saturday to assess reported damages from Hurricane Delta to homes where residents need assistance in recovery.

Spokesperson Ben Broussard said volunteers from the agency’s Disaster Recovery Program are traveling to homes that sought help through United Way of Acadiana’s 211 help number or people who texted “DISASTER” to the number 797979, reporting their need for assistance. CCA is working with partners from Acadiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

“If there are people who need assistance, that’s where the reports are going,” Broussard said of the help contact numbers. “We are helping people who have nowhere else to turn and who oftentimes don’t have family, people who need assistance and don’t have folks to help.”

Broussard said that’s a mission that Catholic Charities volunteers have been pursuing most recently since Hurricane Laura ravaged Calcasieu Parish and other areas in Acadiana on Aug. 27, downing trees and creating havoc. He said volunteers have been using chainsaws to help those who could not clear fallen trees and large branches from their doorways and driveways or off their homes and have been affixing tarps to damaged roofs.

“We’ve been swinging chainsaws for a long time,” Broussard said. “We’ve been working from St. Martin to Calcasieu Parish. We’re going to be swinging them for a longer time.”

Hurricane Delta’s landfall was east of Laura’s, closer to Lafayette Parish and Catholic Charities of Acadiana’s eight-parish mission area. Broussard said damage assessments were being made over the weekend and volunteer work would start as early as Monday.

“The first part of response for us is this assessment, then debris removal and placing tarps. If a person has a big old hole in their home, we’re going to deploy teams with the right tools and knowhow to help them,” he said. “We will try to put as many crews out there as we can.”

John Koury was making assessments in Lafayette for Catholic Charities on Saturday. Pulling up to his 10th house assessment of the day, he said, “This is a major wow.” He said he was unable to see the simple house from the street for the tree that covered it.

“He’s got no insurance and no way to fix it,” Koury said as he approached the home. “He’s in a bind; he’s in a jam.”

Koury said he’d seen similar disasters Saturday morning, mostly involving people without means to remedy the damage that befell them overnight. Property damages, he said, were significantly worse from Delta than those made by Laura in Lafayette. If damages then were a “3” then, he said, they were an “8” now.

“It’s nothing like Lake Charles was in Laura, but it is significant,” he added.

He compared Delta’s damages in Lafayette to those inflicted by Hurricane Lili in 2002.

Those seeking help must fill out a form for CCA’s Disaster Recovery Program, available on the website, Broussard said.

Catholic Charities was also seeking donations to assist those in need of disaster recovery.

“We are asking the community to assist Catholic Charities of Acadiana in our disaster response by either making a monetary donation or shopping on our disaster Amazon shopping list,” the agency said in an issued statement. “Your timely contributions will be used to provide essential relief immediately following disaster, as well as assisting in the long-term rebuilding of our community post-disaster.”

To donate, text “RELIEF” to 797979.

Catholic Charities also needs volunteers in these areas to help: data collection/call center, tarp teams, damage assessment, muck out/clean up, debris removal and chainsaw crew, food service team member. Go to: bit.ly/deltavols.


Email Ken Stickney at kstickney@theadvocate.com.