Rural Recovery Archive

The Rural Recovery Archive chronicles SMHA's reflections and response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It is a guide for future recovery and a call to action for increased support locally, regionally and nationally. Rural recovery is often overlooked in the wake of destruction, but our substantial impact on community rehabilitation post-Katrina offers great insight into efficient resource allocation and the absolute importance of uplifting rural voice and experience in disaster recovery.

 

Special Message from SMHA regarding Hurricane Katrina’s effects on rural Louisiana

Dear Friends, Supporters, Donors, Funders,

Southern Mutual Help Association must call upon all of you to help us.

Louisiana is in the midst of a catastrophe. Not only is New Orleans devastated but so are so many of the surrounding rural communities. Fishers and family farmers already under the stress of international trade agreements, have now lost homes and the very means of creating a livelihood to recover. Many rural small businesses are destroyed. The crops in many areas are gone — cane, citrus, soybeans. The fisheries are destroyed in large areas of Louisiana’s coast. This is a crisis for small farmers, farm workers and fisher families.

SMHA knows from our lengthy recovery from hurricane Andrew in August of 1992 that rural areas are last and receive the least. Focus will understandably be on urban areas such as New Orleans, on oil and gas installations, on search, rescue and the basics of life like water, food, shelter, medical treatment.

Many agencies and generous souls will be seeing to those needs.

SMHA is still assessing the situation of directly impacted rural communities and families. We already know the Acadiana region around Lafayette will have approximately 150,000 refugees looking first for where to be for the time away from their homes (likely to be lengthy), and secondly how to possibly recover and rebuild their future.

SMHA as a rural development organization needs your help in the recovery effort.

SMHA needs money. It will take millions for dollars in grants and specially structured loans to help rural families recover.

After Andrew, SMHA learned a great deal. Specially trained volunteers like doctors, nurses, carpenters are helpful especially if they can be responsible for their own expenses, transportation and shelter out of the impacted area. Too many volunteers and clothes are simply a burden. Well-handled money is the most urgently needed response and helps the most. SMHA has, as you know, 36 years of responsibly handling money and achieving mission.

Please give generously to SMHA to support this work. You may use the links below to donate with your credit card, or mail checks made to “SMHA” to:
Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc.
3602 Old Jeanerette Rd.
New Iberia, LA 70563

Louisiana and the rural poor need you now.

In deepest appreciation for you all,

Lorna Bourg
Executive Director
Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc.