What were you doing one year ago?

One year ago today, NECHAMA staff had our eyes glued to the radar as we watched Hurricane Ida make landfall. In an area of the country that is prone to hurricanes, we have almost come to expect that a hurricane will occur each season somewhere along the gulf coast. As Hurricane Ida moved toward the New Orleans area on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the storm developed into a Category 4 storm, equalling Katrina in intensity. All we could do was wait it out and hope that homes and lives were spared.

One year later, we are still active in St. Charles Parish, an area to the southwest of Lake Ponchartrain. In 2021 Parish President Matthew Jewel stated that “Nearly every structure in the parish has damage ranging from cosmetic damage to a total collapse of a home or building.” Our story in Louisiana began in September 2021 with mucking and gutting, the process of removing damaged flooring, ceilings, and walls. We helped homeowners sift through water-logged items that had begun to mold, looking for anything that was salvageable.

This process continues today, even as our team has transitioned to rebuilding homes. In one year, we have assessed damage in 103 homes and completed 73 muck and guts. We currently have 22 homes in our queue, many of which continue to need trees removed and muck and gut work performed. Partnering with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a total of 485 individuals have dedicated 11,809 hours to aid the community in recovery.

And our work doesn’t end there!

In May we started the process of assisting homeowners in rebuilding their homes. We are installing insulation and drywall, beginning the process of making a shell of a home whole once again. At present, 2 homes have been completed by 40 individuals through NECHAMA and IOCC, with a total of 2,040 hours of donated labor to complete this work. And the need for assistance is still great- current estimates project two years of work to complete!

As we continue on our journey of rebuilding homes in St. Charles Parish, we invite you to join our efforts. Become a volunteer, donate to support the work we are doing, and most importantly, share our story with family and friends!

Want to learn more about the work our staff and volunteers are doing each day? Watch this video from our amazing partners at the United Way of St. Charles!