Group offers cleanup help

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Monday afternoon, Preston and Eryn Lee continued documenting their losses and cleaning up after the flood.

“We lost some air conditioners in the garage, all our beds and all our furniture,” said Eryn.

“Pretty much everything’s gone,” Preston added.

The couple live on Avenue E in Bogalusa, and on Friday, their home flooded with three feet of water. Their story is familiar by now.

According to parish figures, as of Monday evening, at least 450 homes had been reported damaged by the flooding, which started Friday morning. The National Weather Service’s southern Louisiana office in Slidell reported that Washington Parish got anywhere from eight to 15 inches of rain on in Friday’s storm. With the rain came flash floods that sent the Bogue Lusa River far over its banks and sent rainwater over streets, through yards and into homes.

The Lees were in the parking lot of the former Winn-Dixie on Monday, picking up cleaning supplies from a station set up by Save Bogalusa, a local revitalization group that is helping victims.

The group spent Monday helping victims document their losses. It wasn’t clear whether residents of the parish would meet the minimum damages required for the parish to get federal assistance, but on Tuesday, the governor announced that residents in Washington Parish would be added to the list of those who qualify for federal disaster relief aid.

Wendy Williams, the executive director of Save Bogalusa, said her group is eager to take whatever help it can get for the flooding victims.

“We originally set out to do debris cleanup,” said Williams. “We need volunteers. I understand some people can’t come all day, but we’ll take anyone who can give a couple of hours of their time.”

Besides volunteers, Williams said her group is taking donations for cleaning supplies, including yard tools like rakes and towels as well as non-perishable food, clothes and everything else necessary to start over again.

Save Bogalusa has a fundraising page at and the group is selling Save Bogalusa T-shirts for $10. T-shirt sales will go toward the flood relief effort. The T-shirts can be purchased by sending an email to Include contact details and shirt size. Volunteers get free T-shirts.

On Tuesday, the group relocated from the parking lot to the YMCA at 411 Ave. B.

Besides local efforts, the Red Cross is helping communities across the state and in Bogalusa. The organization’s sheltering efforts have not been this large and extensive since 2012, when Hurricane Isaac hit the state. The Red Cross estimates as many as 12,000 people across the state have been impacted by flooding.