Cameron Parish is no stranger to the devastating aftermath of hurricanes. The coastal parish has recovered and rebuilt in the wake of numerous major storms including Hurricane Audrey, Rita and Ike but Hurricane Laura has brought about unprecedented challenges, Ryan Bourriaque, District 27 State Senator, said.
“In previous storm events, we picked ourselves up by our bootstraps and got to work. For myself and many residents, it feels like Laura blew away our boots and we are working our tails off barefooted.”
Hurricane Laura possessed characteristics of both Rita and Ike, he said with comparable storm surge to Ike but stronger winds than Rita. Though no loss of life was recorded, the severe destruction was inflicted upon personal property, utilities services and community resources.
He praised the parish’s elected and appointed leaders’ response saying, “Those individuals utilized the institutional knowledge of previous staffs, who unfortunately suffered the same fate, and incorporated 2020 capabilities.”
Municipal sewer and water is restored in the town of Cameron. Likewise, healthcare, police, EMS and fire protection is operation “to provide a level of public safety for folks returning.”
Ninety-two percent of the parish is still without electricity, however. “Portions of the parish could be dealing with lack of power for weeks to come,” he said.
From a legislative perspective, Bourriaque said he has seen “relentless effort from our state agencies,” in regards to their response to the disaster.
“I will not be able to single out one agency or department without leaving someone out, so I will simply say that the needs of our people that have been articulated to the Governor himself and his staff have been heard, acknowledged and acted upon.”
Isolated communities and complicated geography makes recovery a difficult process for Cameron residents, he said. “The recovery process will be lengthy, but we have to wake up every morning and accomplish any form of progress no matter how big or small.”
Despite the difficulties, Bourriaque said he is hopeful of the future. Even if a fight is required, the region will receive its just aid for recovery, he said.
“Buildings will be constructed or demolished. Infrastructure will be improved. Time will pass, but the ridges, marshes, cheniers and people of Cameron will persevere.”