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Traffic moves along Broad Street as damage and debris from Hurricanes Laura and Delta can still be seen Dec. 21, in Lake Charles.

This year, Louisiana has resiliently taken on a pandemic, national unrest, and an unprecedented hurricane season, leaving people eagerly counting down to 2021.

While that time is near, people should realize that the work of 2020’s hurricane season is far from over for pivotal parts of our state: parts of Louisiana that are off the beaten path but truly rich in vital resources and home to the most dedicated residents.

The end of the line in Southwest Louisiana, especially in Cameron Parish, is little known to outsiders, but Jefferson Davis Electric Coop (JDEC) knows every road and servitude of its marshy, Louisiana-unique coastland. JDEC has been serving Cameron Parish since 1945 and has weathered many storms. For the past five months, though, the men and women of JDEC have been serving the parish from tents and campers — makeshift command centers that house round-the-clock crews restoring electricity to an area blown away by 150 mph winds.

This utility, and others in Southwest Louisiana like Beauregard Electric, Cleco, and Entergy, have distanced themselves from family, friends, homes, and more not because of COVID-19 requirements, but because there is an ongoing job to do. JDEC’s team has not gone home because they know the importance of providing power to a parish so vital to Louisiana’s way of life.

Cameron Parish is a place that supports the natural and industrial needs of Louisiana. It is home to the fisherman, crabbers, and shrimpers that put Louisiana’s best seafood on our tables. Its land and access to the Gulf of Mexico is bountiful in resources that produce the infrastructure that fuels not only our state economy, but our nation’s. Presently, billions of dollars in LNG investment, critical energy pipelines, and our prized seafood industry are all being run off of generators.

This a place people and businesses call home. And because they do, Louisiana as a whole is benefitted by the production of its labor. Cameron Parish is indispensable to our state’s economy and culture.

Therefore, this holiday season, the greatest gift that can be given to Cameron Parish is not to be forgotten in state and federal relief efforts, restoration policies, and agency collaboration. We ask our leaders to realize the importance of restoring and strengthening Cameron Parish, and to reach out to this area and listen to the needs of its residents and businesses.

While we enter the new year, we must remember the importance of each part of Louisiana, and the need to collaborate and pool our resources to keep all of Louisiana strong.

CRAIG GREENE

Baton Rouge

MIKE FRANCIS

Crowley

Public Service Commission