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Southwest Louisiana Recovery Project announced for small businesses, workers and families

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It’s difficult for most to recover from disasters, especially the numerous disasters Southwest Louisiana has faced.

A new project aims to assist those who may be among the most vulnerable. It’s called the Southwest Louisiana Recovery Project for Small Businesses, Workers, and Families.

The owner of one small business says she hopes to get help to rebuild her restaurant.

If your nose has you trying to figure out where the scent of tantalizing barbecue is coming from, Rita’s Creole Family Kitchen food truck may be close by.

Rita Fields used to have a restaurant at Hebert’s Landing at Big Lake, until the hurricane destroyed it. So, for now, she and her husband Joe Fields operate out of two food trucks.

Her goal is to one day get the restaurant back open.

“My goal is to start back again where we left off. Even though it’s tough, I am going to get a restaurant back. I have that in my focus, because everyone wants to come in and sit down, spend time with the owner and eat some good food!” Fields said.

The project aims to help businesses such as Rita’s recover and prosper. United Way has provided $115 thousand in funding for the project.

“This project is intended to provide all-around support to help put small businesses and their workers on the right track to a full recovery,” Executive Director of United Way Denise Durel said.

It’s headed by Dr. Cathy Denison-Robert of Business and Workforce Recovery Solutions.

“We need to comprehensively and holistically help a small business owner, the nonprofits, and the sole proprietor - their workers and their families,” Denison-Rober said.

The services will include people in this five-parish area, people like Rita who have been praying for help.

“I just stood still and said, ‘God, guide me and send me some help,’ and he did!” Rita said.

Starting August 11, the project will begin taking applications for help online. There will also be announcements in outlying parishes.

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