disaster rebuilding and recovery
After the successful relief program of Project Homecoming, created as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2007, the Presbytery has taken on a much bigger challenge of rebuilding and recovery following the August 2016 "no name storm", affecting a much larger population and area.
The Storm With No Name
The 2016 Louisiana Flood was a bonafide disaster that dumped 6.9 trillion gallons into southern Louisiana. This Storm With No Name stranded 1,000 motorists on the highway for 2 days, devastated over 150,000 homes in 22 parishes (counties) and left over 200,000 men, women and children homeless. It meandered down 10 rivers, filling homes with up to 10 feet of water for days after the rain had stopped. And they weren't ready. Because, like you, they didn't think that a no-name rainstorm would or could bring such devastation. Most weren't even in a flood zone. Someone forgot to tell that to the water.
The Storm With No Name was much more than a rainstorm. It was a deal breaker that may never get fixed simply because so few across the country even know that it happened, much less the magnitude of the damage.
When the August 2016 flood inundated 22 Louisiana parishes, the Presbytery's congregations sprang into action. University Presbyterian Church served as a shelter for displaced families in Baton Rouge for over 2 months. RHINO, a ministry of St. Charles Presbyterian Church in New Orleans led groups of volunteers for several months to gut homes throughout the region. Many gathered food and funds to help. Within the week, a meeting was convened to plan the Presbytery's response. It was clear from the beginning that this would be a lengthy recovery. PSL quickly approved the creation of our Disaster Response Team and soon after, hired a Disaster Recovery Coordinator to develop and implement the long-term plan.
With the support of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (our national emergency response organization) and its army of PDA volunteers across the country, PSL has established 3 Hubs to provide our volunteers with housing (and hospitality) as well as work supervision to help rebuild the homes and lives of families across South Louisiana who were affected by this flood. PDA volunteers are often recognized by "The Blue Shirt" that they so proudly wear . . . and by the motto on the back of those shirts that is so much more than just a motto: Out of chaos, hope! Until unmet needs are met.