Giving Hope, Building Resiliency in the Face of Disaster in Louisiana

Damage caused by Hurricane Ida in late August 2021. Photo by Katie Sikora Photography.

Experience, planning and resiliency all meant the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana and its churches could quickly respond in late August of 2021 when Hurricane Ida made landfall in the state.

With Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, the diocese assembled a disaster-response team before the storm to work with neighboring dioceses, evacuation sites and clergy.

Hurricane Ida emergency response clean up. Photo by Katie Sikora Photography.
Hurricane Ida emergency response clean up. Photo by Katie Sikora Photography.

Ida could not have hit at a worst time. August is a slow tourism time when “wallets, bank accounts, and in general, hope are running on fumes,” said the Rev. Robert Beazley, rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Mandeville near the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Ida destroyed any sense of hope for thousands of families, he said. The summer’s Delta wave of COVID-19 added to the misery. St. Michael’s, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s help, responded in the most practical way it could, offering people gift cards and money transfers via phone apps.

“The help we were able to provide put food back in fridges, gas back in the cars of those who
depended on them for work,
and covered rent for another month.”

Rev. Robert Beazley

Down in New Orleans, clergy and members of Christ Church Cathedral also distributed gift cards – and hope. They found neighbors empowered to help each other, pooling the purchasing power of those cards to buy communal food and other items. The Very Rev. David A. duPlantier, cathedral dean, called the cards “a very real and material way of being able to express the love of God from people all over the country.”

Thanks to your support, Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program is able to partner with dioceses and organizations around the country to help give hope and build resilience in the face of disasters such as Hurricane Ida.