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‘Returning Home Isn’t An Option’: Louisiana Families Displaced By Hurricane Ida Find Temporary Housing In Atlanta

Quien Bridges and Justice Jackson in front of their motel room funded by non-profit Hosea Helps. They were displaced by Hurricane Ida after the storm battered the Louisiana coast.
Quien Bridges and Justice Jackson in front of their motel room funded by non-profit Hosea Helps. They were displaced by Hurricane Ida after the storm battered the Louisiana coast.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, an estimated one-half of that city’s population left. More than a hundred thousand never came back.

It’s now been three weeks since Hurricane Ida decimated parts of Louisiana, and it could be weeks more before power is restored to some hard-hit areas. It’s not clear whether Ida will have the same effect on the area’s legacy residents. But just as in 2005, many of those escaping harm’s way have ended up in Atlanta.

22-year-old Justice Jackson and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Quien Bridges showed WABE’s “All Things Considered” around the suburban studio motel room they’ve been sharing.

When they first got to Atlanta, they were paying nightly for a room. Ken told Burress it wasn’t sustainable. Seeking help, they came across a phone number for Hosea Helps, the Atlanta-based non-profit that’s also working to deliver truckloads of essential supplies to parishes across the Louisiana coast.

Hosea’s CEO Elizabeth Omilami also spoke with Burress on how the organization is handling the extra expenses from Ida, and the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s as the long-standing, Black-owned local non-profit celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.