Congressman Garret Graves visited the area yesterday to speak to the Rotary Club of Houma-Terrebonne, to make a clothing donation at the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce, and participated in a roundtable discussion on the role airports play (including the Houma Terrebonne Regional Airport) in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and the long-term recovery of communities.
Congressman Graves shared with The Times that he came down to Houma the day after Ida hit, and has flown several times since then. “When you come down here and you see it and talk to the victims directly, it certainly gives you the drive and passion to take it back up, and I think that was proven in the fact that one month and a day after Ida’s landfall, we were able to secure a billion dollars in recovery funds,” he said.
Graves also shared that they will be making some announcements on major flood protection investments in the area and went as far to call them historic investments, “ I think it’s important when people get their recovery checks, their insurance checks or what have you, and they have to make that decision if they’re going to come back, am I going back to this place where it’s gotten trashed, I want that answer to be an easy yes, so it’s why it’s so important to complement those recovery dollars with the protection dollars so folks can feel comfortable bringing families back and rebuilding in our communities down here,” he said.
Graves also donated business attire to the Professional Clothing Giveaway at the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce. The giveaway was a partnership between many community organizations and businesses including Synergy Bank, Fishman Haygood, Schonekas, Evans, McGoey, & McEachin, LLC, Southern HR, Buquet Distributing Company, Rotary Club of Houma, and the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce. Graves donated business clothes because he said with a disaster such as Ida, it’s everything. He recalled taking a photo in Leesville of a home that was blown out and there was a rack of clothes out in the open, he said it was bizarre, and he knows that some people lost absolutely everything. He said even if a house didn’t get completely destroyed, but water gets in, clothes get moldy and everything is just destroyed. “I love watching the community coming back to self-heal, and that’s one of the greatest things about it,” he said, “you’ve all heard this before, in giving you receive, and I think that so many people in the aftermath of a storm like this realize this. This is what we do. We come together and help people with the resources we have and address those in need… we’re pulling our community back together.”