Phone call with Theresa Dardar of the Pointe au Chene Indian Tribe


Sunday September 14, 2008

I got to have a long phone conversation with Theresa Dardar of the Pointe au Chene Indian Tribe today.  She and her husband Donald, Vice Chief of the tribe, live in the shrimping village and know everyone there.  Many of the people in this village are related.

She called this hurricane double whammy the “Two Men.”  Gustav brought devastation to the community of 45 homes — roof damage affected every single house.  The electricity went out first, and then the water was gone, which was the most difficult for everyone. They were driving into Houma to carry home gallon jugs of water to cook with and wash off with.  Evacuation took place as they were identifying who needed what, as the flooding from Ike followed.  As we spoke, she was waiting for a relative to take her to her home after being gone for some days — the road still impassable, and they were going in by boat.

She said one 82-year-old woman’s house was totaled during Gustav and she was going to live in a shed that her son started to clean out for her.  It was flooded away during Ike.  There are 10 homes that were totally destroyed, to her knowledge, but full assessment of the damage was forthcoming. Nobody in the community escaped without damage.

One house on stilts — “you could see right through it,” she told me, “after Gustav.” Every home had roof damage, many completely gone, causing all of the belongings inside to get wet and ruined when the rains and flooding took place. Two or three trailers were flooded off their blocks and are now unlivable.

She said FEMA is nowhere to be seen — “there’s no government help at all,” Theresa said, “they won’t do like they did with Katrina.”  The Red Cross and Salvation Army have been there bringing food to people.

The tribe has a 501c3, and they are hoping to get building materials as well as assistance with building, and items of sustenance for the people who again are without basics.  In the next few days, it will become clearer what the needs actually look like. —Robin Rose, MD