Hundreds of thousands of southeast Louisiana residents are without power in their homes, or stranded outside the state and anxiously waiting to return, or pulling out sheetrock soaked by floodwaters and patching holes in their roofs, or salvaging what’s left after Hurricane Ida devastated the region and upended life for more than 1m people in a near instant.
The effects of Ida are compounded by deteriorating wetlands that provide a vital barrier to extreme weather from the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the oil and gas industry’s century-old grip on the region, and a public health crisis with disproportionate impacts on the many low-income, Black and Indigenous communities in its path.
Yet a vast network of residents have organised massive food and water drives, used generator power to open community device-charging stations, and supported statewide mutual aid efforts to help feed, cool down, relocate and get medicine to vulnerable residents stuck in hot and humid conditions.
Recovery will take days, weeks, months and years. Organisations are on the ground and providing direct assistance to people in need.
Here’s how to help.
The Carnival organisation Krewe of Red Beans launched Feed the Second Line during the coronavirus pandemic to sustain New Orleans cultural communities, essential workers and others in need.
“With extended power outages expected, many will need food and other supplies. There will certainly be damage with Hurricane Ida – but we will come together as a community and support one another because we love our city and her people,” the group announced.
All Hands All Hearts, which helps rebuild schools and homes after disasters, launched a dedicated Ida fund.
Another Gulf Is Possible’s Mutual Aid & Rapid Response Fund provides direct financial assistance and delivers essential goods to Indigenous and Black and brown communities, including groups that aren’t able to take donations online, and families impacted by Ida.
The organisation has also encouraged people to donate to Indiginous groups in the state, including Atakapa Ishak Tribe, Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw, United Houma Nation, Pointe-Aux-Chien Indian Tribe, and Grand Caillou/Dulac Band, as well as the Bvlbancha Collective, an Indigenous mutual aid collective.
The Bayou Community Foundation – which supports hard-hit parishes Lafourche and Terrebonne as well as Grand Isle on the state’s southernmost tip – is raising funds to support emergency grants to local nonprofit groups and recovery and rebuilding efforts in the region.
Culture Aid NOLA, which has provided free meals twice a week to New Orleans area residents during the pandemic, is accepting donations and offering free meals in coordination with partner groups. Volunteers have set up a place to cook and feed people at the Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans.
GoFundMe has established a centralised page for Ida relief.
House of Tulip helps provide housing and other services to transgender and gender-nonconforming people in New Orleans.
Imagine Water Works launched the Mutual Aid Response Network in 2019 to build mutual aid networks across the region. The organisation is providing direct assistance to people impacted by Ida.
Inclusive Louisiana launched in 2020 to protect St James Parish and neighboring parishes from pollution and other environmental concerns. It is accepting donations to support Ida recovery.
The New Orleans Musicians Clinic – which has provided affordable care to culture workers for more than 20 years – is accepting donations to help check on elderly, immunocompromised and home-bound patients, including help with ice, medication, food and fuel. It also is providing emergency assistance payments and mental and physical health services.
Humanitarian relief group Project Hope is in Louisiana assisting with an “evacuation center with first aid, health screenings, and other medical services.” The group is bringing 8,080 disaster health kits and 98,800 N95 masks.
Rebuilding Together New Orleans helps rebuild and repair homes for low-income homeowners. The group is “assessing needs and preparing to respond” and accepting donations.
SBP’s disaster response teams are “prepped and ready to deploy from the New Orleans and Houston operating sites as soon as it is safe to do so” to begin gutting and repairing homes damaged by Ida.
Second Harvest Food Bank is the largest charitable anti-hunger network in the state. The food bank delivers thousands of pounds of food and supplies and bottles of water year-round, and its kitchens in New Orleans and Lafayette typically serve 10,000 meals daily, according to the organisation. It is “actively responding” to Ida.
Southern Solidarity has organised “the delivery of food, medical resources and basic needs directly to the unhoused” in the New Orleans area since March 2020. The organisation is accepting monetary donations as well as donations of food and hygiene products; a list of current needs is available on the group’s website.
Founded by chef Jose Andres in 2010, World Central Kitchen is providing roughly 500 free meals daily at distribution centres across New Orleans and surrounding areas. The group is accepting donations.
The United Way of Southeast Louisiana has launched a dedicated Ida fund in collaboration with local news network WWLTV to “support immediate relief efforts, long-term rebuilding and community grants to partner organizations providing direct services to assist with recovery.”