by Ed Lallo/Louisiana Seafood News
New Orleans disaster recovery nonprofit St. Bernard Project (SBP) whose mission is to remove the physical, mental and emotional barriers for fishermen and residents struggling to recover from the devastation and trauma by Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill, has launched a massive effort to ensure its clients are safe and secure as Hurricane Isaac ravages New Orleans and Louisiana.
Hurricane Isaac made landfall in New Orleans almost seven years to the day Hurricane Katrina completely devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Former Marines Kevin Booher and Reese May led the the organization’s efforts, alongside SBP’s Client Services Manager Chad Carson.
The nonprofit organization has rebuilt more than 440 homes with the aid of more than 40,000 volunteers in the Greater New Orleans area since Hurricane Katrina, with a large majority of those being for families in the Louisiana fishing community.
“We managed to board up 36 of the 39 homes currently under construction previously devastated seven years ago by Katrina,” said Zack Rosenburg, co-founder and CEO of the organization that has helped put hundreds of families in the fishing community lives back together. “Before the storm hit we contacted 190 of our clients to determine if they had evacuation plans, needed alternate shelter, and if they needed assistance in preparing for the storm.
Most clients contacted are veterans of such storms and had plans in place. Andrea Portales, Volunteer Coordinator stated, “I felt like I was really helping the clients that did not know what to do. I’m glad I could help”.
Additional preparation for the storm included visiting 26 work sites in two parishes, removing and securing tools and loose yard articles and staging them in such a way that volunteers can immediately get back to work as soon as storm passes.
“In preparation for the storm we have been communicating with our staff twice a day, and have daily scheduled status updates at 2 pm,” explained Rosenburg on the preparations.
The Saint Bernard Project has spent roughly $20,000 on fuel, supplies and salaries preparing for Isaac. The group hopes to recoup funds via an already in progress fundraising effort.
“This storm in no way diminishing our commitment to the community and especially the fishermen,” said Rosenburg, whose organization has over 130 families waiting for a home. “Our team remains committed to rebuilding the homes and lives of disaster-impacted residents and ensuring a complete recovery for our New Orleans and St. Barnard stakeholders.”
For more information on St. Bernard Project contact Zack Rosenburg: (504) 208-7756 or firstname.lastname@example.org