Iowa moves forward with Hurricane Laura recovery efforts

Published: Sep. 5, 2020 at 8:15 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Iowa, Louisiana is just another town in SWLA that was ravaged by Hurricane Laura, but just like others, they are determined to move forward.

Those like April Hardner say, they just want to help.

“We just want to give back, honor the Lord and serve and help, just do what we can.”

Communities are coming together to help the town of Iowa. Some from other coastal areas who know exactly what it’s like to go through a hurricane.

Driving through the small town of 3,500, you can see damage to almost every structure and home.

Mayor of Iowa, Paul Hesse says damage is extensive.

“There are degrees of damage, but at least 80 to 85 percent received some damage.”

Paul Hesse, the Mayor of Iowa, rode out Hurricane Laura at City Hall with Iowa PD, Fire maintenance and other city workers.

After the storm rolled through they immediately hit the ground running to begin clean up.

Hesse says city phone lines were down a few days after the storm, making it difficult for people to contact the city or police department.

He says the city has learned many lessons over the last week, and there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We got to get electricity. That’s critical,” Hesse said. “Once we get electricity, the only long term item that we will have is determining where we can establish temporary housing for those that have completely lost their house. We have people living in their cars right now.”

Hesse says, thankfully, many organizations have brought in donations for residents.

Hardner says they have multiple items to give to the community.

“We have some baby items. We have diapers and wipes. We have toiletries, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, tooth brushes, snack foods, water, Gatorade and some food items.”

Right across the street, Living Water Ministries was passing out donations as well.

Their pastor, Jeff Kibbey, originally from Indiana, says the community took him and his family in when he first moved to town five years ago.

“We are just here to serve. That’s what we are here to do. To serve this community.”

Hardner says it’s important to keep keep moving forward.

“Press on. You will get through. It will be hard. You will have hard days, but you will get through. Lean on each other, depend on each other, work together, love one another and be kind.”

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