By Alexis Casnave, features Editor
Despite it being over a year since Hurricane Ida, schools across Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes are still recovering.
Golden Meadow Middle School suffered entensive damages due to Ida including flooding, damaged roofs, and outside benches reduced to rubble. Principal Hennessy Melancon says it took days for anyone to get out there to assess the damages. Once he was able to set foot on school grounds, he was left in shock.
“To see the school in dismay, mangled, and twisted; it was like something out of a horror film,” says Melancon. “It was devastating.”
“To see the school in dismay, mangled, and twisted; it was like something out of a horror film.”
— Hennessy Melancon, Golden Meadow Middle School principal
Golden Meadow Middle School was forced to move to Golden Meadow Upper campus while students from the upper and lower campus have combined together at the Golden Meadow lower campus. Melancon says the students and faculty will remain at the temporary location until the school is completely repaired sometime in the next year, but the exact timeline is currently unknown.
“I am very proud of how our school community pulled together to get us back to something somewhat normal,” says Melancon. “This year has been amazing, but in all honesty until we are back on the other campus, we will never be totally normal.”
South Lafourche High School is also still waiting for repairs, though the school is up and running. The school had a lot of internal and external damages that made the school uninhabitable for the several months after Ida.
Maggie Punch, who teaches at the school, says it’s hard seeing the hurricane’s impact on her students.
“I still have students coming to me and expressing their worry about completing school work because of the conditions they live in at home due to Ida,” says Punch. “I mean, I can’t imagine the stress of trying to get an education with a school in this condition and also if they’re going home to a cramped trailer.”
Melissa Bagala, principal at St. Mary’s Nativity School in Raceland, also says it has been difficult.
— Melissa Bagala, St. Mary’s Nativity School principal
“My heart goes out to all my students, especially since they’re so little, so young,” says Bagala. “I just hope my students, their parents, and my faculty keep faith as we navigate through these trying times.”
A look at school experiences after Hurricane Ida.
Dr. Rachael Marchand Marcello
Dr. Michael Martin