When Hurricane Ida hit landfall, the town of Houma was the first major population center on its way.
HOUM, La. — Allison Smith wasn’t thinking about where to go next. She had stashed the boxes when she moved into her 2-bedroom apartment in the Chateau Creole complex a year ago and planned to stuff them with her clothes and other belongings and load them into a U-Haul with her bed and sofa. , and take it to the nearest storage unit it finds – two hours away. Then he wondered where to live.
“I didn’t even think about it this far,” Smith said as she and her boyfriend packed their belongings.
Residents of the apartment complex loaded moving trucks, collected salvageable items, and contemplated what to do after the devastating winds and heavy rains of Hurricane Ida made those at home uninhabitable. There weren’t many good options for many.
Ida Landed on 29 August and Houma, a town of about 33,000 inhabitants, was the first major population center on its way. No power expected Returned to the congregation by September 29, and this is only for homes and businesses that are structurally strong enough to be strong. Not many.
In the apartment complex, shingles were strewn across the parking lot and tufts of pink insulation were stuck to the exterior walls. Some of the buildings had lost large portions of the siding. In others, the roof decking was torn and the rain had soaked the pink insulation that had fallen on the apartments below.
When the storm came on, Smith was in a bedroom in his apartment – K26 – videotaping the fierce storm outside when the ceiling collapsed on him. The bedroom is carpeted with wet insulation from which you can see the frame of the building and the blue sky. He spent a hot night slapping mosquitoes in the other bedroom. Now he worries that another storm will come and destroy what he has left.
He made a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency; They gave him enough money to pay for the hotel for a week – “This is a start” – and then he’ll figure out what to do next.
“I’m mentally tired, I’m just tired,” she said.
In the M22 apartment, Jordan Howard and her boyfriend had returned home after being evacuated to Texas. They had heard about the damage to the complex and that they would have to move in through other tenants on Facebook, but found that their apartment had escaped without any damage.
After doing the initial research, their plan was to come back with a moving truck, pack up and start over. Before the storm, Howard worked as a receptionist at a hotel but said it’s now closed. They’re weighing what to do next – stay in Houma where Howard’s family is, or start somewhere else – where there’s electricity. It was a decision many people thought they could take too, given how great the damage was in Houma.
“A lot of people will have to leave and I don’t think many will come back,” he said.
When Hurricane Ida swept through Houma, Jason Cole was looking at the damage done outside his first-floor apartment – J17. After the storm, he and his son and several other relatives traveled to Morgan City, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) away, and rented a hotel room. However, when the hotel gave the room to the workers who had come to restore the electricity, they had to leave. On the way back, his car broke down and he had it towed back to the apartment complex where a friend was making repairs.
He and his son currently live across the street with the godchild, but storm damage could force him to move, too. Cole was also unemployed after the hurricane destroyed the shrimp business he used to drive.
He had managed to salvage some clothes from his apartment, and like many others in the Houma apartment complex, he was trying to figure out what to do. He had heard from other residents that they had to get out by Tuesday, and he knows how extensive the damage was throughout the town. He said that if nearby hotels have rooms, they don’t do weekly rates, so there’s always the worry that they’ll have to find a room and move out the next day.
“Just rude,” he said. “It’s hard for a lot of people.”
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