How to Help Those Affected by Hurricane Laura

(Originally published 9/11/20, last updated 9/15/20) 

 

It's been two weeks since Hurricane Laura made its way across Louisiana, destroying Lake Charles and surrounding towns and parishes in the process.

This was the biggest storm that has hit Louisiana since I've become an adult and moved out on my own. It certainly brought a high level anxiety as none of us knew what to expect or how bad it would be for us here in Lafayette. As the storm came through in the middle of the night, we stayed up listening to the wind, but thankfully, Ariana slept through the whole thing.

I'm extremely grateful that Lafayette and my home were spared of major damage and we personally didn't lose power, but it's hard to see the majority of Southwest Louisiana so battered. In addition, many areas in Central Louisiana faced damage from the strong winds. I've heard from friends and colleagues that photos don't even do the damage in Lake Charles justice. Nearly every building in the city is damaged to some degree. Many compare the sight to what it looks like after a tornado passes through - except across a much larger area. 

 

Photo via Second Harvest


So many people have stepped in to assist, from working around the clock to restore power and water, to cooking and distributing food, to distributing ice and water, to donating and distributing needed supplies and clothing.

The rebuilding process is well underway, and there are ways you can help even if you aren't nearby or in a position to provide manual labor.

 

Via Times Picayune



United Way of Acadiana

Donate supplies via United Way of Acadiana's Amazon wishlist.

United Way has also partnered with local startup Hampr to provide laundry services to displaced residents. Support that effort by donating here.

 

Photo via United Way of Acadiana

 

United Way of SWLA

Donate supplies via United Way of SWLA's Amazon wishlist.

The organization is keeping an updated list of supplies and materials needed for residents who are cleaning up and rebuilding. You can donate to their efforts at the bottom of the page.


Red Cross

Donate or volunteer through the Red Cross.

 

The Current

My friend April put together a comprehensive list of places where you can donate supplies in Lafayette for The Current. Check out her list if you want to donate goods rather than money. 

 

Second Harvest food bank  

The Second Harvest food bank has been collecting food donations in Lafayette and Elmwood and transporting them to Lake Charles. Visit their Facebook page for current information.


Operation BBQ Relief

Operation BBQ Relief is one of the nonprofit organizations currently deployed in Lake Charles providing meals to residents and first responders free of charge. Donate to support their efforts here.

 

Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon is a group of veteran volunteers who help communities recover and rebuild, often by providing manual labor. Donate to support their efforts here.


Louisiana Care Fund

This fund is administered by the Louisiana Hospital Association Research and Education Foundation and supports hospital workers in rebuilding. Donate here.

 

Acadian Companies Employee Disaster Relief Fund

Similar to the Care Fund, this fund is set up by Acadian Ambulance to support EMS personnel and Acadian employees who were impacted by the hurricane. Many first responders were on shift when the storm passed through and were away from their homes and families and continue to work as they rebuild. Donate here.

 

Resources for Lake Charles residents and volunteers

Lake Charles Memorial Hospital is keeping an updated list of resources on their social media, including where to pick up food, ice and water.

 

Cajun Navy

The Cajun Navy has been hard at work helping residents recover and rebuild. In a post on their Facebook page from September 9, they list specific donation items needed for residents whose homes are facing mold damage.

Follow the group's Facebook page for other ways to donate or volunteer.

 

The705

Lafayette-based organization The705 is collecting used laptops that will be cleaned up (with all personal information removed) and converted for use by displaced Calcasieu and Cameron Parish students who may not have a laptop for remote learning.

Donate your old laptops to EDC by September 30, 2020.


 

As I find more resources throughout the recovery from Hurricane Laura, I'll update this list. There's a long road ahead for Louisiana, but we have proven over the years that we can and will rebuild.

Local Restaurants That Use Plant-Based Packaging

(Originally posted 7/16/2020, last updated 9/4/2020)

With almost every restaurant adapting to takeout and curbside pickup orders during the pandemic, single-use takeout containers, utensils, straws and napkins have definitely multiplied.

It is so important to continue to support local businesses during these times, especially restaurants that are struggling to keep their doors open. And ordering dinner from your favorite restaurant is a nice break from cooking once in awhile. (Even though I love to cook, I get burnt out on doing it as often as I have been, and look forward to treating the family to some restaurant food!)

So during Plastic Free July, I came up with a list of locally/regionally owned restaurants in Acadiana that use plant-based or plastic- and Styrofoam-free packaging. Not only are these some delicious restaurants, but you can also feel better knowing you aren't contributing to more plastic and Styrofoam waste.


Plastic Free July

Today kicks off the annual Plastic Free July movement, which aims for millions of people to be part of the solution to plastic pollution, enabling us to have cleaner streets and oceans and beautiful communities.

This year is the 10th year for the movement that has now inspired over 250 million participants in 177 countries, according to Plastic Free July's Facebook page.

It’s not about being perfect (there is no failing with Plastic Free July) but rather starting by looking at the plastics in your life (look inside your bin, fridge or pantry) and choosing to refuse one single-use plastic.

https://www.facebook.com/PlasticFreeJuly/photos/a.249328958515547/3241407319307681/?type=3&theater

Guide to Shopping Sustainably in Acadiana

Over my years of blogging, one of the things I've enjoyed most is seeing more businesses come to Acadiana that focus on sustainability in some way. It's encouraging to see more demand for secondhand goods, locally made goods and waste-free shopping!

So today, I'm rounding up a guide to shopping sustainably in Acadiana! Whether you live here or plan to visit when it's more safe, this can help you find a place to start if eco-friendly shops are something you value. Many of these businesses I've written about before, so click on their name to read the post! Scroll to the end to find a custom Google map as well.

Our Night in a Tiny House

My husband and I have imagined for years what it might be like to live in a tiny house. We follow tiny home accounts on Instagram and have chats about what features we would want in our ideal tiny home. Mind you, most of this was before we had a baby.



Although I know that we won't be trading our home for a tiny home anytime soon (maybe once we're empty nesters and/or retired), we have still been curious about what it would be like to have one.

A couple years back, I introduced y'all to Tee Tiny Houses, an Acadiana-based tiny house builder, and gave y'all a tour of their first construction. Since then, they have turned the home into an AirBNB located in Sunset, Louisiana.

 

The owner, Cherie, and manager, Jamie, were so kind to let us spend a night at the home to check it out and see what it's like. We made our plans and took a one-night staycation not long before Coronavirus shut everything down and our governor implemented a stay-at-home order. Looking back, it really was nice to have a night out before many, many nights in.



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