Nungesser tours LC homes hit by Harvey

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter visit damaged homes.

Rick Hickman

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser toured flood-affected neighborhoods in Lake Charles on Tuesday and met with local volunteers in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey.

“As we don’t know what kind of federal assistance we may or may not get, rest assured we’re going to fight,” Nungesser told volunteers at the local United Way.

“Whatever it takes — volunteer, money-wise — to get everyone back in their homes we’re going to stay the course.” 

He said he would donate $1,000 to United Way to aid relief efforts and would mail donation letters to businesses around the state.

At least 300 homes flooded in Lake Charles during the storm last week — more than officials originally thought, said Mayor Nic Hunter. Hundreds more flooded in west Calcasieu Parish, although the final count hasn’t been released.

Hunter and Nungesser visited the Terrace neighborhood in east Lake Charles. Mounds of debris and furniture lined the streets.

They stopped at the residence of Virginia Mathis, whose Gen. Patch Street home flooded on Aug. 28. Mathis said she doesn’t live in a flood zone and hasn’t flooded since moving there in the early 1980s.

She has no flood insurance, she said, leaving her in a difficult position. Mathis said she was grateful when volunteers from the United Methodist Committee on Relief offered to repair her home at no cost Monday.

Officials also toured the home of Mary Guillory on Gen. Wainwright Drive. Guillory said she lives with her mentally disabled sister. Her brother came to evacuate them on Aug. 28 when the water rose close to the home.

“I was just trying to stay calm for my sister,” Guillory said. 

She said the water moved from the street to her front steps in a matter of minutes. Her home hasn’t flooded in 27 years of living there, she said, and the street rarely fills with water. She, too, didn’t have flood insurance.

Guillory said she signed up to receive help on Monday; churches and charity groups had gone door to door that day registering people in the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster — or VOAD — database.

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser gets a first hand look at the damage in Mary Guillory’s home.

Rick Hickman

“Whatever help I can get to rebuild and restore, I appreciate it,” Guillory said.

Pastor Braylon Harris of Mount Olive Baptist Church said that about 250 Lake Charles residents signed up for help during Monday’s event, titled “Labor Day of Love.”

Nungesser said his priority is funneling workers and funds to people like Guillory.

“We pray for Texas, and we will assist Texas,” Nungesser said. “But our first goal is to make sure we take care of every Louisianian.”

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To sign up for help, call United Way at 211. Residents can donate to the Lake Charles Area Relief Fund at the Southwest Louisiana Community Foundation by visiting www.foundationswla.org. To donate to United Way, text “Harvey” to 41444 or visit unitedwayswla.org.

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