A tradition of rebuilding: Katrina Recovery Team discusses recent Louisiana floods

Maddie Liotta, Senior Writer

On Aug. 29, students and staff met in the Office of Civic Engagement to discuss the Katrina Recovery Team’s plans to help victims of the 1,000-year flood earlier this month. More than two feet of rain came down in southern Louisiana in a 32-hour period, leaving many people destitute and homeless.

For the past 10 years, the Katrina Recovery Team has been going to Louisiana over Thanksgiving break to help rebuild houses and businesses that were destroyed during the historic 2005 hurricane. Every year, the team discusses different options for raising money and supplies for those affected. This year, the volunteers have proposed ideas including Walmart cards, grocery store cards, and gas cards for those who have been left with little to no money as a result of the floods.

Many flood victims have been able to live off the funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Other efforts have been directed towards affected children and their education. Some Louisiana schools were completely destroyed by the floods. Parents are becoming increasingly concerned about how their children will fare in recovering schools that have little to no supplies.

Throughout the brainstorming process, the Recovery Team members have made efforts to help flood victims directly, rather than through a charity.

“I think it’s really great to have a specific person in mind,” Bri Lepore ’19 said. “It provides an immediate focus, and people can know where the supplies are going instead of just knowing they are going to a charity.”

The Recovery Team’s goal is to provide assistance to a K-6 school and a high school.

“Many of the schools down there are getting cramped because a large number of the others were flooded,” director of civic engagement and service learning Janice Butler said.

Many students on the team performed community service in Louisiana in the past.

“I was on the Katrina Recovery Team last fall, where we helped rebuild a few houses in the lower ninth ward in New Orleans during Thanksgiving Break,” Jorden Sneed ’17 said. “I wanted to make sure that I helped out with the Baton Rouge floods, because it is very close with what we had to do last fall.”

The Katrina Recovery Team is looking to spread awareness for the Thanksgiving break service trip, as well as the school supply and clothing drives that will be taking place in the coming weeks.

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