By Jerry Bell, Emergency Manager
(Editor’s Note–This is the fourth part in a series of stories in recognition of Hurricane Heroes of 2020. Continuations will be printed in an ongoing fashion over the next few weeks.)
Keeping our citizens informed is an important part of emergency operations and recovery. Our citizens need to have as much information as possible to help them get through any crisis. Our city should be so proud of Jeffra DeViney and her staff at the DeQuincy News.
Probably, the DeQuincy News is one of the only newspapers to go to press right after the storm. This was due to the hard work of the staff of the DeQuincy News. Jeffra approached me and asked if we could spare an extra office at the police department and the Chief quickly agreed to that request. Media is so important during crises. Jeffra and some of her staff Crystal Nix and Evalin Hester would arrive at the PD and work until midnight to get the paper out.
The DeQuincy News even passed out free newspapers to get the word out. Other DeQuincy News staff was working behind the scenes like Doug DeViney taking photos and doing everything he could to keep the paper going. That was a great feat that just did not happen. It happened because of hard work, determination, and skill. My old friend Jerry Wise would be so proud that his newspaper kept going through this great disaster. I would personally thank Jeffra for getting information out to the public that I needed as the Emergency Manager for them to receive. The DeQuincy News is a wonderful asset to our town and I hope it will always be here.
During and after our two hurricanes, our area businesses stepped up to the plate to help our efforts. Many of our businesses did what they could do to help. I remember that Popeye’s, Dairy Queen, and Brookshire’s furnished food to the police department that went to the citizens.
Tigerland helped tremendously by providing emergency fuel to all the first responders. Ronnie and Jack Marcantel are to be commended for helping all the first responders. They set aside fuel for emergency purposes and that relieved me of having to worry about fuel for our police cars and firetrucks.
Every Emergency Manager knows that fuel, along with food and ice, are so important for the recovery process right after a disaster. So I thank Ronnie and Jack personally for helping us. I remember after Rita, we had to fight for every gallon of gas. Ronnie and Jack saved us until I could get the fuel trucks moving.
Another citizen hero would be Butch Treme from NAPA. He was on call 24/7 to come in and get whatever the police or fire personnel needed. Butch really helped us in several ways, getting us supplies, and being available when needed. We thank Butch for what he did.
Other heroes would be the personnel at Nichols. They were available for supplies for when we needed them. They also allowed CLECO to park their vehicles on their parking lot. The Nichols management also let the Red Cross operate off their lot and even assisted the Red Cross. For this I am grateful for their help.
I want to give a special thanks to the men and women and management of LAWCO, the water company. As they did after Hurricane Rita, they kept our water going after Hurricanes Laura and Delta. This was very important to have our water up because many cities effected by the hurricanes lost their water. So we add LAWCO employees to our list of heroes.
I would also like to commend our Post Office staff for their hard work in getting the mail out. They had to work in very hot weather. Becky Grove approached me and asked if I would get the Post Office a generator from the state. I contacted a high FEMA official and he gave me the OK. We got them a large generator and this gave them more light and air. I was glad to be able to help the post office. They are so valuable because our seniors need their medicine and some of it comes through the mail.
(To be continued)