BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The widespread damage from Hurricane Damage has prompted many families from southwest Louisiana who evacuated to the Baton Rouge area to enroll their children in local schools.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said during a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 1 it could take upward of three weeks for power to be restored in Calcasieu Parish, one of the parishes hardest hit by the storm. He also said numerous water systems in southwest Louisiana were damaged during the hurricane and many areas are without clean water.
Hurricane Laura made landfall at an already difficult time as Louisiana was also battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s made me appreciate what I do have,” one southwest Louisiana resident told WAFB’s Donovan Jackon.
Giselle and Daisy Fuentes tell WAFB returning to school is a step toward a normal life.
“It’s kind of sad because we hadn’t really like we were out of school for so long and we weren’t able to do things and we weren’t able to go out and have fun and socialize it’s not the same,” Fuentes says.
The high school students say their family returned to the Lake Charles area to rebuild their home. However, virtual learning is no longer an option because they could be without electricity for a long time.
“We’re just kind of waiting it out and see what happens,” Fuentes says.
Some families have chosen not to wait and have already enrolled their children in Baton Rouge area school districts that are accepting displaced students.
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“It was a pretty easy process once we decided that we were going to go ahead and try to get the enrollment going,” one parent, Theresia Folse, says.
Folse, who is now staying with family in Ascension Parish, says she did not want her two sons to miss a key moment in their lives.
“I have one going into first grade and one truly starting in kindergarten so it was going to be his real first day,” Folse says.
Even the boys’ father, who stayed in Lake Charles because of his job, made sure he did miss out on their big day.
“My husband and I both just want to have our kids get an education whether it’s the virtual learning in Calcasieu Parish or whether in person here [in the Baton Rouge area],” she explains. “It’s a transition. and we keep telling the kids that it’s not permanent but we’re just going to make do because which is so blessed to even have a home.”
Folse says she’s hopeful parents will find their children’s education to be one less thing to worry about while they rebuild their lives.
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