April 26, 2022
Bayou Community Foundation joined Greater New Orleans Foundation local residents, state and parish leaders, and nonprofit partners today in celebrating the completion of the first two homes built in the Terrebonne Parish bayou community of Dulac through the Foundations’ Hurricane Ida recovery programs.
Homeowners Linda Faye Pellegrin and Abraham & Robin Parfait and their families were on hand to accept the keys to their new homes, built by Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) through an $850,000 grant from Bayou Community Foundation’s Bayou Recovery Fund for Hurricane Ida Relief.
Funding for the grant was provided by gifts to the Bayou Recovery Fund from individual and corporate donors, the Governor’s Hurricane Ida Relief and Recovery Fund, and a $300,000 matching grant from Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Hurricane Ida Disaster Response & Restoration Fund.
For this program, MDS is constructing 10 new houses and completing 40 or more major home repairs in Dulac through the end of May, allowing 50 needy families in this storm-ravaged rural community to return home. The nonprofit group has also completed 36 home demolitions.
“After Hurricane Ida made landfall here on August 29, Bayou Community Foundation recognized that our community’s recovery depended on providing homes for the neediest who lost so much. We are grateful to MDS for sending volunteers to Dulac and working with us to fill this critical housing need,” said Bayou Community Foundation President Henry Lafont.
“Today, thanks to an extraordinarily successful partnership between Bayou Community Foundation, MDS, Holy Family Catholic Church and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, and the generosity of our Bayou Recovery Fund donors, Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Governor’s Hurricane Ida Relief and Recovery Fund, we are excited to welcome the first two families to their new homes,” Lafont said. “This is just the beginning. Bayou Recovery Fund grants will continue to help residents repair, rebuild and return to our unique and precious Terrebonne, Lafourche and Grand Isle communities in the months ahead.”
“The Greater New Orleans Foundation was thrilled to provide $300,000 in matching funds to support this exciting partnership with the Bayou Community Foundation,” said Andy Kopplin, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans Foundation. “The families in Dulac were some of the hardest hit in our region during Hurricane Ida, and we thank the nearly 1500 individuals, corporate, and foundation donors who gave generously to our fund so that we can support nonprofits working on the ground to help families get back in their homes.”
The two- and three-bedroom MDS homes in Dulac are designed and built for storm resiliency as part of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes “Strong Homes Initiative.” Strong Homes provides donated services and products to upgrade homes to meet the IBHS FORTIFIED hurricane wind standard. The homes are rated for 160 mph winds and are elevated far above FEMA requirements. Grant funds are used to purchase building materials, while construction labor is provided at no cost by MDS volunteers. Homeowners also contribute insurance or FEMA proceeds received toward construction costs, and appliances are donated by nonprofit Rebuilding Together Bayou.
“MDS is grateful to join hands with so many wonderful partners as we put our faith into action with a hammer and paintbrush serving our neighbors in need. From our offices in Pennsylvania, I keep hearing reports of the gracious hospitality of the Dulac community – that our volunteers keep wanting to go back and serve,” said Kevin King, Executive Director of MDS.
Abraham and Robin Parfait and their two young sons lost their home and all belongings along Bayou Grand Caillou in Dulac during Hurricane Ida when their roof was torn away in the Category 4 winds. The family was left with no means to rebuild, until they learned about the MDS project.
“Hurricane Ida took all of the ‘things’ in our life, but not what matters most – our family and friends. We grateful for all of our new friends from MDS, Bayou Community Foundation and other groups who have given us a new chance at life and a new, beautiful, strong home along the bayou. This is where the Parfait family belongs, and we thank God and all the generous donors and volunteers who have helped us rebuild a home here,” said Abraham Parfait.
The Parfait family and others have been identified and selected for this Hurricane Ida home rebuild and repair program through extensive case management efforts of Holy Family Catholic Church in Dulac and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. In addition to the 50 homeowners initially selected for assistance this spring, over 100 homeowners remain on a waiting list for the project.