Sheltering in Orange

Published 6:46 am Saturday, September 4, 2021

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By Dawn Burleigh

Orange County residents are too familiar with the aftermath of a storm and are showing they are more than willing to give back as they open their arms to evacuees of Hurricane Ida.

Orange Church of God on 16th Street is a shelter for those who were escaping the storm and now wondering when they might be able to return home.

“We are up to 47 residents,” Pastor Demetrius Moffett said. “They are all from the southern Louisiana area and, as I understand it, it maybe six to seven weeks before they get power back home.”

A cousin of one family, the first family, that arrived on Sunday is the same pastor who helped Moffett when he was in need of assistance after a storm.

“This is an opportunity to give back for all he and his people did for us,” Moffett said.

Moffett added, “Orange stepped up in a big way to help these families.”

Pastor Larry Anderson and his church, Gate City Guild, SETX Civilian Taskforce, Catholic Charities, Charles Thomas and Pastor Hardy O’Neal, to name a few, have helped provide for the needs of the residents as they were waiting to hear if they had a home to return to in the coming days. Game tickets were donated for the Friday night Mustangs game for the evacuees to attend.

To help give the people something positive to focus on, the church is hosting a BBQ Party on the Parking Lot on Monday, Labor Day from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Orange Council member Terry Salter added there will be a DJ.

A ‘tip’ jar will be on hand for those who want to make a donation to help out the families.

“We need volunteers to help serve the food on Monday,” Moffett said.

Brenda Alexis, of Thibodaux, LA, is grateful for the shelter.

“We live in a flood zone so we knew we could not stay,” she said. “We stayed at a shelter Saturday night and Sunday morning we got a call to leave because it was going to be a Cat 4 when it hit.”

When she packed initially, she only grabbed clothes for a couple of days thinking she would be home by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

While speaking to this reporter, the first pictures of her home were sent to her. She remained strong as she looked at the damage to her kitchen.

She said relatives of hers had to sleep in their car before the families met in Lake Charles on Sunday.

“There were no rooms available anywhere,” Alexis said.

Right now, she said she is taking it one breath at a time.

“There is no power,” she said. “Gas stations and grocery stores are trying to open but the lines are so long.”

She is grateful for the assistance her family has received while at the shelter, which included finding a place for her sister-in-law to get her dialysis treatment.

The one thing she said she needs right now is clothing as she left with just two or three day’s worth of clothes.

Pastor Moffett said wants to start collecting cleaning supplies, water and possible sheetrock so Orange residents can help muck out and help others in need with repairs.

“I am looking at the first of October,” Moffett said. “Anyone who wants to partner with us, please contact me.”