January 18, 2024
Bayou Community Foundation (BCF), donors, partners, volunteers and Lafourche Parish leaders welcomed Eloise Vizier to her new home in Cut Off today, the first storm-resilient home built here for Hurricane Ida survivors like Vizier through the Foundation’s “Rebuild South Lafourche” Housing Recovery Program.
The Foundation will invest over $2 million to buy construction materials through June for volunteers with nonprofit building groups Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Storm Aid and C.A.R.E. from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to build 15 new FORTIFIED Gold homes and repair up to 150 storm-damaged homes for residents of limited means in Larose, Cut Off, Galliano and Golden Meadow.
“More than two years after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Lafourche Parish, hundreds of vulnerable, under-resourced families are still living in damaged and unsafe homes or in FEMA trailers where their homes stood before Ida, with little hope for recovery. Rebuild South Lafourche is changing that!” said Bayou Community Foundation President Henry Lafont, Jr. “Bayou Community Foundation is grateful to our donors, partners, and generous and talented volunteers who are helping us rebuild homes, lives and our South Lafourche community through our Rebuild South Lafourche program. Together, we are bringing people home!”
Vizier’s mobile home in Cut Off was destroyed in Hurricane Ida, and the 73-year-old widow has been living with family in Baton Rouge, Mississippi and Larose since the storm. She was overjoyed to accept the keys today to the new three-bedroom, one-bath house that she, her daughter and grandchildren will now call home. Storm Aid volunteers built the house in less than three months.
“Watching the house go up has been been like Christmas every day! It has been such a beautiful experience to see these young volunteers build our home so quickly, and the quality of their work is fantastic,” said Vizier. “Bayou Community Foundation and Storm Aid have brought light into our lives when we had no hope. Getting the keys today marks a new chapter in my life, and I will always carry with me the memories of these people doing all these beautiful things for the people of South Lafourche.”
Amish and Mennonite volunteers from MDS Storm Aid and CARE arrived in Larose and Galliano beginning in October 2023 to build and repair homes through May 2024 for Rebuild South Lafourche. Storm Aid previously partnered with Bayou Community Foundation for its housing recovery program in the Terrebonne Parish community of Dulac, where 24 homes were built and over 300 repaired in 2022 and 2023. In spring 2023, CARE volunteers repaired 30 homes during the first season of the Foundation’s Rebuild South Lafourche and Rebuild Grand Isle programs.
“These projects undertaken by the Bayou Community Foundation are not only going to give our residents safe permanent housing but also add to the resiliency of our community against future storms. We cannot thank BCF for taking on Lafourche as part of their rebuilding process,” said Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson.
With the support of donors, Bayou Community Foundation manages the entire Rebuild South Lafourche program and funds all building materials. Construction labor is provided free of charge by the volunteer building groups, and local volunteers donate their time to accept and review applications for assistance.
Funding partners include Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Mary and Al Danos Foundation, Ray & Kay Eckstein Charitable Trust, Shell, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Chevron and many more individual donors to Bayou Community Foundation’s Bayou Recovery Fund. Catholic Charities also provides appliances, American Red Cross funds furniture and household items, and Second Harvest provides food and cleaning supplies to Rebuild South Lafourche clients.
“Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux (CCHT) is a proud partner with BCF through the Rebuild South Lafourche project as well as their Rebuild initiatives in Dulac and Grand Isle in providing safe and permanent housing and highlighting the resiliency of our people and communities. Having the opportunity to collaborate with a first-class organization in BCF in solving challenges present in communities we call home and work are significant to our CCHT team,” said CCHT Executive Director Dr. Benjamin Duet.
Corporate partner Danos has contributed a critical program resource – housing for the 40 MDS Storm Aid volunteers a week who will be working here through May.
“Danos is grateful for the important work of BCF and Rebuild South Lafourche, so we eagerly accepted the opportunity to partner with them to provide housing for the relief workers. We are proud to join this ongoing effort to solve big challenges for our community,” said Hank Danos, Board Chairman, Danos.
“The Greater New Orleans Foundation is thrilled to continue supporting the Bayou Community Foundation’s long-term efforts to rebuild South Lafourche,” said Andy Kopplin, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans Foundation. “The families in this community were among the most impacted by Hurricane Ida. We commend BCF’s leadership on this project and thank all of those donors who made it possible for the Greater New Orleans Foundation to grant over $2 million to support bayou region nonprofits following Hurricane Ida, with $850,000 going directly to BCF’s efforts. We look forward to continuing to do our part to help families get back into their homes.”
“Chevron is proud to support the Bayou Community Foundation and their mission to build and sustain Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, and Grand Isle,” said Leah Brown, Public Affairs Manager for Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico Business Unit. “Seeing a family move into their new home is truly inspiring. We are tremendously grateful to BCF and the other organizations and volunteers who have worked together to make this day happen. We thank them for their partnership and ongoing commitment to the community,” said Leah Brown, Corporate Affairs Manager, Gulf of Mexico Business Unit.
Housing recovery has been a critical Bayou Community Foundation effort since Hurricane Ida made landfall here on August 29, 2021, with the Foundation investing over $5 million to date from donations to its Bayou Recovery Fund to support home repair and construction for over 400 households most impacted by the storm in Terrebonne Parish, Lafourche Parish and Grand Isle.
“The tremendous power of philanthropy and volunteers makes these effective housing recovery projects possible. Together, we are building a more compassionate and resilient coastal community with each family that we bring home,” said Jennifer Armand, Bayou Community Foundation Executive Director. “We thank all of our donors, project partners and generous volunteers for giving help and hope to our people who have lost so much, and we continue to seek donations for Rebuild South Lafourche and Rebuild Grand Isle so we can help as many families as possible while our volunteers are with us this year.”