Native American tribe breaks through barriers to Ida’s recovery

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TERREBONNE, Louisiana (AP) – A patchwork of local and government efforts are working to help members of a local Native American tribe recover from Hurricane Ida.

Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar says the homes of nearly all of the Grand Caillou-Dulac Band members of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw were damaged by the Category 4 storm.

She opened a shop with other tribal members and nonprofit organizations to help bring resources and community service to the American Legion Hall in Chauvin and Anchor Foursquare Church in Dulac. .

More than a month after the storm, Parfait-Dardar worked with grassroots organizations and other volunteers to fill in the gaps. Tribal members and other residents of Terrebonne’s hard-hit bayou communities need help seeking FEMA help and temporary housing and, in the longer term, rebuilding with more resilience.

“We cannot do temporary fixes,” said Parfait-Dardar. “If we don’t take a more proactive approach, we aren’t going to take the next one. “


Parfait-Dardar’s own heavily damaged house is not insured as it was not complete when the storm hit. She applied for grants and worked with other tribes and coastal groups, including the nonprofit Lowlander Center, to receive funding that would help residents rebuild homes designed to withstand a Category 5 storm.

On October 8, Loyola law students took the time to help residents process FEMA claims in the American Legion lobby.

A student, Emily Torrey, said the process was complicated by obstacles. She has an example where a resident was unable to process a FEMA claim because the number on file goes to a phone that was damaged by the storm. The students plan to return next week.

“We’re going to help as much as possible between the two,” said Parfait-Dardar. “I have a whole list of people I still have to reach out to and thank for all their advocacy, love and support.”

Most of the tribe have been displaced, and Parfait-Dardar said she was frustrated by the slow pace of FEMA and state action to serve residents. It has been over 40 days and the first tent base camps for displaced residents have arrived around the parish of Terrebonne.

The first, aimed at residents of the Chauvin area, opened on October 8 along Klondyke Road and can accommodate up to 100 people.

Parish officials said about 5,000 Terrebonne households have requested temporary housing since the storm. More tent camps are expected to open over the coming week across the parish.

“These programs have been around too long for them to still be so ineffective,” said Parfait-Dardar.

She continues to discuss the needs of the tribe with state and parish officials, adding that tribal communities know their situation and the best ways to recover.

“We are making progress by standing up for the interests of the people we serve,” said Parfait-Dardar. “The whole community needs to recover. “

To support the Grand Caillou-Dulac group of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, visit gcdbcc.org/support.

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