By Tyrese Lee, podcast Editor
While Hurricane Ida damaged homes and businesses in South Louisiana, one industry is booming as they work to rebuild the region.
Troy Brown, a contractor from Assumption Parish, says Hurricane Ida’s created so much work due to the massive amount of damage that it caused.
“Because there was so much damage and work to be done, it created a backlog of contractors being able to get their work done,” says Brown, who is working in the parishes like Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. James and St. John where Ida did the most damage.
The amount of work drew construction crews from all over the country, but local residents preferred local builders.
“I’m a well-known local contractor and because of my reputation of the quality of work that I do here in the area, I’ve ended up being on a positive note because it generates so much business for me locally,” says Brown
At first, the focus was on fixing roof damage, says Brown. And area building supply companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s were quick to stock up on roofing material due to the need.
One difficulty in rebuilding quickly was the impact Hurricane Ida had on supply chains and workers.
Doug Gregory, president and CEO of Morrison Terrebonne Lumber, says, “It was difficult getting employees back to work, especially those who lost their dwellings. We all worked around the clock at our stores and worked on our own homes after work through the night. It has been an exhausting process for all of us.”
Ida’s impact on the supply chain was better than Gregory thought it would be because many of his vendors knew Ida’s impact and prioritized him by working with him as soon as possible.
Morrison Terrebonne Lumber works in the homebuilding, remodeling, and repair business. Gregory says they had to turn down work for various types of jobs because the company was so busy with the business from Ida. Even more than a year later, they are still busy.
Gregory hopes Morrison Terrebonne will complete most of its building projects from Ida by late spring of 2023.
Another construction business, The Brick Yard, also struggled to keep up with the demand.
“The customers were lined up at the door waiting to get materials as fast as we got them, and things started to get very hectic,” says Christian Page, a warehouse operator of The Brick Yard.
— christian page, warehouse operator at The brick yard
The Brick Yard had to increase vendors to get a lot of materials from outside by meeting with sources outside the state. Most of the Brick Yard’s business after Ida was in roofing shingles, delivering those materials to areas like Cut-Off, Napoleonville and Gray.
“It [Hurricane Ida] definitely helped out but at the same time it was overwhelming for a small business to try to maintain such a very high-frequency amount of customer service,” says Page.
To meet the increased business, the Brick Yard is in the process of building a new, larger building across the street from its current location along with hiring more employees.
Construction companies are now focusing more on getting materials in time for repairs to people’s homes so that the victims of Ida can finally move on.