Hurricane Ida struck the Gulf Coast over the course of a day, but its repercussions will continue for years to come. In its wake, the category 4 hurricane left countless residents without power or running water. With federal, state, and utility responders overwhelmed and often unresponsive, grassroots organizations around New Orleans — and around the country — stepped in.
Step Up Louisiana, a member of the nationwide Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J), saw the need and raised the alarm for assistance. As J4J National Director Jitu Brown put it, “Once they explained just how desperate the situation was, we put the call out. Soon, our rapid response team was flying into Houston.” J4J members from Chicago, Camden, Little Rock and elsewhere converged, supplies in hand, and sent in cargo vans full of water, soap, food, and COVID-19 protective equipment.
J4J’s current base of operations for this effort is Houston, where many New Orleans residents fled in advance of the hurricane. In the face of the threatened eviction of a dozen families from a Houston hotel, J4J was able to help them with hotel fees and gave them supplies.
One of the New Orleans residents that J4J assisted, Melissa Francis, told a Sun-Times reporter that “all the families here were so grateful to Journey For Justice for paying our hotel bill. Now they asked what we needed, and they brought it — water, medicine, PPE, diapers, snacks, all sorts of supplies. I’ll tell you what — they’ve done us better than any government agency.”
J4J in Baton Rouge to deliver life essentials to families. Please show some love to the following members who took time to serve others. @brothajitu, Ronsha Dickerson, Kamau Kheperu, Sharon Smith, Ramon Melendez, Sharon Wright-Jackson, Anika Whitfield !! #Wepullup #J4J pic.twitter.com/7JOO8u65pm— Journey 4 Justice (@J4J_USA) September 1, 2021
Schott grantee partners based in Louisiana — like Step Up Louisiana, Rethink, and Friends & Families of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) — have been providing supplies, free food, and arranging housing for Gulf Coast residents ever since the storm passed. In addition to providing emergency supplies and funds to its members, FFLIC has been closely following the conditions youth are facing within the criminal justice system: “We will continue to monitor and advocate for the safe release of incarcerated children dealing with the emotional trauma of this new disaster who are at very high risk of infection in an institutional environment that cannot adequately provide for their care and safety.”
We’re back for #hurricaneida distribution in New Orleans day 5 2022 St Bernard Ave— Step Up Louisiana (@StepUpLA) September 8, 2021
- burgers and chicken on the grill
- snack bags and cold drinks
- tarps and ice soon while supplies last pic.twitter.com/YtTMqpOUKv
Despite the incredible work of these organizations, hundreds of thousands remain without water or power. To do the important mutual aid work that’s saving lives at this very moment, they need your help.
To support the work and organizations featured here, donate today to Schott’s Loving Communities Response Fund for Racial Justice, a fund that includes grassroots organizations in decision-making to ensure that funds go where they’re needed the most.