Hometown hurricane clean-up crew goes the extra mile for their neighbors and friends

By Heather R. Breaux

September 24, 2008 at 1:44 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

It’s been nearly a month since Hurricane Gustav’s wrath left St. Charles Parish neighborhoods with down trees, rising waters and days without electricity.

But for many residents it’s the good deeds of family, friends and neighbors that rise among the debris and bring comfort to those who felt the brunt of the storm.

Luling resident Emilie Bourgeois evacuated to Monroe with her boyfriend Brian Miller before the hurricane made landfall, and when the two returned home, helping clean yards was No. 1 on their to-do list.

“We knew that many of our neighbors and friends had no one to help them out with clean-up, so we all pitched in,” said Emilie.

Teamed up with her uncle, Ryan Lambert, and her dad, Gary Bourgeois, Emilie and Miller cut down trees, cleared driveways and drains of loose branches and other debris - basically helping out where ever help was needed.

“We mostly just drove around looking for people that needed help with cleaning up,” Emilie continued. “In a lot of cases, we didn’t even know their names. If we saw that they had a lot of damage or down trees, then we’d stop and see what we could do.”

The foursome even trekked outside the parish to assist those in need.

“We drove to Morgan City to help out one of our neighbors with his camp,” said Emilie. “We cut down trees and cleared branches from the entrance of the driveway.”

Emilie points out that for several of their clean-up projects, the homeowners hadn’t yet returned from evacuating.

“We were all motivated to help those who couldn’t help themselves or who had no family,” she said. “And we even helped people who hadn’t come back home yet by clearing debris from the outside of their homes.”

Emilie says that lending a helping hand was an amazing feeling and says that their good deeds were well received.

“Our neighbors were very grateful and some didn’t even know that we did it because they came home to a clean yard,” she said. “It felt awesome to help people who couldn’t do it themselves or had no one else to do it for them.”

View other articles written By Heather R. Breaux

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