Editorial Roundup: Louisiana

The Advocate. November 30, 2021.

Editorial: Hurricane season is finally ending, but the crisis endures for many

The end of hurricane season is always welcome hereabouts, so let’s circle Nov. 30 on the calendar.

That’s especially true this year, as most of southeast Louisiana was assaulted by Hurricane Ida. Ida and Hurricane Laura, which overwhelmed Lake Charles in 2020, tied for the distinction of being the most ferocious storms in terms of wind speed to hit our state since before the Civil War.

For many of us, the inconveniences of a hurricane end when the lights come back on, which this summer took days or weeks.

But the end of the stormy weather should give us a chance to remember that for many of our neighbors, hurricane hardships are stretching into December and maybe beyond, as they struggle to rebuild their homes and their businesses.

Lake Charles and southwest Louisiana are still recovering from the 2020 hurricane season. They were promised support by two U.S. presidents, and when help arrived in the form of a congressional appropriation, it was too small to cover the communities’ towering needs.

“The amount of money that will eventually filter down to those who need it in southwest Louisiana is a pittance compared to the disaster relief packages that have come to other communities,” said Nic Hunter, Lake Charles’ mayor.

We fear the same disappointments await residents of Houma, Thibodaux and the River Parishes, which were in the crosshairs of Ida.

The lights are on, but the state has had slow going deploying trailers for homeowners with damage, and the federal government has been even slower.

Congress is dysfunctional, regardless of which party is in power, but when federal disaster support is tardy, residents are unable to return, businesses stay shut, communities atrophy.