Hurricane Laura, a Category 4, is tied for first place as the strongest storm on record to hit the state of Louisiana. Southwest Louisiana took a direct hit on August 27, 2020 from Laura when
it was at its peak intensity which also makes it the tenth strongest landfall by windspeed in the U.S.
These pictures were taken by our dedicated team beginning hours after the storm began passing our community. We hope you will put yourself in the shoes of a homeowner pulling into their
driveway and seeing a pine tree having split their home in half or a small business owner showing up to realize the windows have been broken and everything inside is a moldy, wet mess.
These images will also show how widespread the damage and devastation from Hurricane Laura is. Homes, roads, trees, small businesses, municipal buildings, banks, schools and hospitals were
equally ravaged in Southwest Louisiana's five parishes of Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis.
Hurricane Delta hit in the same season and only weeks after Laura just miles from Laura's initial path. A Category 2 storm that was rain-driven, it devastated homes and businesses with "blue
roofs" waiting for repairs as it followed Laura's path closely. The wind moved the plastic and allowed heavy loads of rainwater into homes. The heat and humidity in Louisiana combined with
the entering rain to create the perfect atmosphere for mold and decay. Debris piles, typical on every street in 5 parishes, were washed into streets where they clogged gutters. Flooding from
backed up rainwater becomes the next damaging phase of Hurricane Delta.
ONE YEAR LATER
The one year anniversary of Hurricane Laura has come and gone. Congressional approval for traditional disaster block grants were never granted for Southwest Louisiana despite Winter Storm Uri
and May 2021 flooding devastating the area again.
United Way of Southwest Louisiana's Response to Hurricane Laura
United Way of Southwest Louisiana's team immediately began response efforts following Hurricane Laura. These pictures represent free grocery distributions in different neighborhoods and
towns, relief sites where basic necessities are given out, hot meals being served daily in multiple locations sometimes, volunteer groups assisting with distribution, donations from all over
the country and visits from elected officials.
Volunteers have come from all over the U.S. Some were alone and camped out each night on the site at the #HurricaneLaura Relief Center and others flew down because their company had a local
connection. They took their vacation time to spend a week with United Way of Southwest Louisiana putting bleach and bottled water in the vehicles of stressed community members who had
returned home to see total destruction.
135,000 hot meals served
85 generators purchased
62 families assisted with tree removal
3,000 families per day given basic necessities at the Hurricane Relief Center for over 50 days
2,500 Pallets of Items Unloaded = 250 Trucks Unloaded
Team Members worked more than 4,000 Hours in 50 Days
Volunteers worked more than 5,102 Hours in 50 Days
ABOUT UNITED WAY
For 81 years, United Way of Southwest Louisiana has been committed to building strong, successful families and strengthening our community.