By Alexis Casnave, Features Editor

It’s been one year since Hurricane Ida changed the lives of those living in the Bayou Region of Southeast Louisiana; and while progress has been made, the rebuilding is not over.

“As bad as this was and as harmful as it was to our homes and businesses, we are still here,” says Archie Chaisson, Lafourche Parish president. “There’s nothing that truly is not going to come back in some way shape or form, it’s just the time it will take for these things to come back that’s a cause for concern.”

“As bad as this was and as harmful as it was to our homes and businesses, we are still here.”

— Archie Chaisson, Lafourche Parish president

One of the areas that is slow to come back is housing, from fixing damaged structures to rebuilding destroyed homes, especially for South Lafourche, where Ida hit first and hardest.

“The South Lafourche community was completely devastated,” Chiasson says. “People are still dealing with insurance claims and insurance companies going bankrupt.”

As FEMA and state sheltering programs come to an end, people who are still displaced are struggling to find housing. Fortunately, some residents are slowly getting back in their homes.

Joushua Scioneaux, a Cut Off resident, says his parents just moved back into their home after living in a camper for almost a year.

“It was a long recovery for sure,” Scioneaux says. “So many people were affected, and it took so long to be on the waiting list for stuff to get done.”

But Chaisson says recovery has really come down to the community.

“One of the things that went right was just the way the community reacted,” Chaisson says. “They really rallied themselves as a community and it became all about neighbors helping neighbors.”

The parish has also made efforts to learn from Ida.

“We looked at putting additional contract abilities to get things done quicker,” Chaisson says, “things like running generators, sewer stations, water plants, and larger emergency shelters.”

And yet after the destruction, one year later, Chaisson says “We’re still here. Although things were a struggle, brighter days are ahead and we are here and open for business.”