Lafourche Parish shrimper hit by thieves after Hurricane Ida stranded his boat

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 11:11 PM CDT
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GOLDEN MEADOW, La. (WVUE) - A Lafourche Parish shrimper said Tuesday (Sept. 6) he is left with nowhere to turn, as thieves have begun cannibalizing his fishing vessel that was washed aground more than a year ago by Hurricane Ida.

Rodney Verdin’s boat -- the La Belle Idee -- remains stranded in the marshes of Golden Meadow.

“It’s selfish of people to take advantage of us when we’re already down,” Rodney’s wife Rita Verdin said. “There’s signs all over it -- ‘Keep off’ -- (so) you know its somebody’s property.”

Rita said she is heartbroken each time her husband discovers more parts and equipment -- worth tens of thousands of dollars -- have been stripped off his dream boat.

“The longer we keep it up here, they’re going to start to destroy it,” Rita said. “What’s going to be next? Are we even going to get our livelihood back?”

Rodney has been a commercial shrimper in Golden Meadow for most of his life. He grew up in a nearby camp, generations old, from which he later ran his business, until Ida wiped it off the map.

“That’s my life, that’s my whole business,” he said. “I can’t really do anything else. I’m almost too old to go find another job. Trying to do what I can ... we aren’t giving up hope.”

Unlike other hurricanes, Ida ravaged the Fala area of the marsh, and washed La Belle Idee aground about 10 feet above the settled waterline.

“Everything is wiped out,” Rodney said, “and a lot of the shrimpers haven’t come back.”

Rodney endured previous hurricanes on his boat, to protect it from the storm.

“This time,” Rita said, “I just felt something wasn’t right. And I called him and told him to come home.”

The couple said they were lucky he did, or he might have drowned. But now they are gasping on dry land, unable to find any help to get their boat back in the water.

“My husband is a hard-working man,” Rita said. “And he puts everything into this boat. We are not people to ask for anything. But, when we ask for help, we can’t get it.”

The said any hired help is unaffordable and they’ve called every office from the Small Business Association to FEMA, along with every politician and elected leader they hope can help.

“All the politicians want you to vote for them, and when you need their help, they don’t want to help. And the commercial fishermen need help,” Rodney said. “Nobody wants to help us to get back to work.”

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