St. Charles Parish family sleeping in tents since Ida gets trailer

2022-03-12 06:12:58 By : Ms. YEROO GROUP

A Louisiana organization donated the trailer after seeing news coverage of the family.

A Louisiana organization donated the trailer after seeing news coverage of the family.

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A Louisiana organization donated the trailer after seeing news coverage of the family.

Hurricane Ida left the Nazios living in tents in their front yard. They slept on inflatable mattresses that got cold at night. They cooked in a firepit. They waited to see if state officials would approve their request for temporary housing. They joked that the ordeal was just, in father Hypolite's words, "a big camping trip." It lasted about two months, as of Friday.

But what a difference a day makes. The family from Paradis woke up Saturday morning in a trailer with a queen bed and four bunks.

"It was a good sleep," Hypolite said with a laugh. "It feels great to be out of the cold and into something warm and to take a hot shower."

The Nazios have Matt Rookard to thank. He saw Friday's news coverage of their living situation, then he gave them a call. By around 8:30 Friday night, he planted a trailer near where the tents had stood.

"Seeing pictures of what they've been living in, that mini-tent city they created, it tells you they're self-reliant — that they're trying," he said. "That makes your heart break that much more."

Rookard is with the Terrebonne Economic Development Foundation, a Houma-based nonprofit group of business leaders. The foundation started buying trailers weeks ago and began distributing them Tuesday. Its organizers have delivered nine trailers so far.

"It's a leg up," he said, noting that families can either keep the units or sell them for extra money. "It's an asset to provide for their family, and it takes a boulder off their shoulder."

The foundation doesn't take applications for trailers. Instead, organizers find families they think need one, and they deliver.

Rookard says the group has enough money to donate about 70 trailers. But he hopes to surpass that goal, citing many families still displaced.

"The thought that we have our friends and neighbors living this way in 2021 in America is absolutely heartbreaking," he said. "I don't think people realize outside Louisiana what it still looks like in many neighborhoods."

The Nazios plan to stay in their trailer while they rebuild their house, which Hypolite's grandfather built more than 40 years ago.

"There have been generations here," Hypolite said. "That's not something you just uproot and leave behind."

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