If you are seeking help for displaced friends and relatives, various area agencies are offering help. Here are some options.

Urgent telemedicine visits

Ochsner Health is offering free urgent care telemedicine visits via Ochsner Anywhere Care to Lake Charles and its area residents who have been displaced due to Hurricane Laura. Impacted individuals can visit with a doctor on their phone, tablet or computer 24/7 by using the code LAURARELIEF. Free, same-day prescription delivery may also be available in select areas, located within 20 miles of an Ochsner Pharmacy. 

Launched in November 2018, Ochsner Anywhere Care is a virtual visit platform in which patients can instantly connect with board-certified family medicine, internal medicine and pediatric physicians and advanced practice providers for secure, live, on-demand video visits via their smartphone, tablet or personal computer. It’s an integrated and streamlined experience delivered through a free Ochsner Anywhere Care mobile app on iOS or Android or online through a computer at www.ochsner.org/ochsner-anywhere-care.

Ochsner Anywhere Care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The visit is free to Lake Charles-area residents with the code LAURARELIEF. Other individuals interested using the platform can receive a visit for a discounted rate of $10.

Ochsner facilities have welcomed 48 adult and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients from Lake Charles hospitals, including CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital and CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital. Ochsner’s Flight Care team worked around-the-clock for 48 hours to quickly transfer the area’s highest acuity patients via air and ground transport. Displaced Lake Charles-based Ochsner employees have also been given the opportunity to work in other facilities whose operations have not been impacted by the storm. On Aug. 28, Ochsner delivered an 18-wheeler full of supplies to CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital to help kickstart recovery efforts.

Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic schools accepting displaced students

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are opening their doors to displaced students from dioceses affected by Hurricane Laura. Students enrolled in one of the 17 Catholic elementary and high schools in the Dioceses of Alexandria and Lake Charles may apply by contacting the Baton Rouge Catholic school directly. General information about Catholic schools in the diocese can be found at www.csobr.org, and a list of Catholic schools can be found through the School Finder Page at https://www.csobr.org/schoolfinder.

While each school’s capacity to accept displaced students is different, especially because of reduced numbers in classrooms due to the pandemic, some schools have room for displaced students while still maintaining social distancing guidelines. Some schools may require a two-week quarantine with virtual learning before the student can attend on-campus classes. Interested parents should contact the school directly to find out the process for applying.

Displaced families will receive a reduced cost to attend Catholic schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Instead of a registration fee, a small application processing fee may be required. No other usual fees will be charged to displaced families. Likewise, the cost of annual tuition will not be charged, and the monthly tuition cost will be set by each school.

Government tuition funding may be available for displaced families through two avenues. Students from an affected area who were attending Catholic schools through the State of Louisiana Scholarship Program may be able to temporarily transfer their scholarship status with state approval. Additionally, displaced families may be able to receive FEMA funding to attend a Catholic school in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, by completing an application at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling (800) 621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The number for assistance with hearing and speech impaired applications is (800) 462-7585 (TTY). Displaced families can also apply for tuition assistance directly from the school if the family is not able to pay tuition.

Diocese holding prayer gift card drive

The Diocese of Baton Rouge has established ways that anyone can help people affected by the storm:

Click on the “Click Here to Give Now” or “Give Online” tabs on the diocesan website www.diobr.org. Catholic Charities, www.ccdiobr.org, will coordinate making these donations available to families in need.

Both parish churches and Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge are collecting gift cards to Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and for gasoline, etc. for families to use as they rebuild their lives.

The Catholic school communities are also helping families in need through the Prayer Gift Card Drive for victims of Hurricane Laura. Schools will collect prayers and gift cards for families in need or will raise funds for gift cards on campus through dress down days, spirit days and the like. Following the 2016 flood, many Catholic schools across the nation reached out to the Baton Rouge area this way, so schools in the diocese want to respond in kind, a press release said.

The gift cards can be from Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. and for gasoline to help families with clothing, food and other supplies that are needed immediately while they are displaced.

Field workers for Catholic Charities will distribute Prayer Gift Cards to displaced families temporarily living in hotels at other sites across the diocese of Baton Rouge.