Helping a community get back on its feet

On Sunday, 29 August, Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful and rapidly intensifying storms to hit the United States, delivered misery and destruction from the time it made landfall in Louisiana.

Once the skies cleared, our UQ Ochsner medical students rolled up their sleeves to help the community devastated by the storm.

Professor Ron Amadee, Head, Ochsner Clinical School, expressed how proud he was by the student’s willingness to help in so many different ways.

“Our students do have BIG hearts and hands, “Professor Amedee said.  

Tara Banani, a Year 3 student, assisted volunteer efforts benefiting indigenous members of the Houma Tribe.

“I’ve made deliveries of food, water, and gas to tribe members and helped tarp damaged roofs across Houma and Dulac,” Tara said.

“I’ve also assisted in building several outdoor showers at a volunteer campsite in Houma which will be used for relief workers in the months ahead.”

In the days following the storm, third year students Nick Logarbo and Paige Krystofinski travelled to Point of Distribution sites to obtain food, water, and ice.

“We provided these supplies to several families who were staying in Nick’s apartment complex in New Orleans for duration of the storm,” Paige said.

“Each day we ran those supplies until everyone had power reinstated.”

Two days after the storm Paige and Nick cleaned out perishables from five houses belonging to families who had evacuated.

They also travelled to Gulfport, Mississippi, to obtain over 50 gallons of gas for community members on the Northshore who had small generators and were running out of fuel.

Lauren Cohen, a 3rd year, and her partner Aaron Shuler drove back a few days after the hurricane to deliver generators, gas, and water to families who were unable to leave New Orleans.

Clean up“We also worked with Sina Moridzadeh, a 4th year, who leads the Stay Clean Project interest group, to organise housing and neighbourhood clean-ups in the weeks ahead to assist those living in temporary housing,” Lauren said.

Guy Helman and Megha Koduri from the Pediatric Interest Group (PIG), helped raise $500 to donate to immigrant and refugee families seen at the Crescent City Clinic. PIG teamed up with Tulane PIG to donate $1,800 in total, which will go towards the purchase of supplies for the families. 

Alix Ryan and Kenny Hunt, current Year 4 students and leaders of the Internal Medicine and SWAMP Wilderness Medicine Interest Groups, hosted a food and toiletries drive for students and residents. The proceeds will be going towards Second Harvest Food Bank.

Lastly, the Ochsner Medical Student Association (OMSA) collected food and cleaning supplies that will be delivered to Houma to be distributed to the Cajun Navy. 

Students are planning to continue with these various projects as Southeast Louisiana continues to recover from Hurricane Ida.

If you wish to contribute to the Hurricane Ida recovery efforts please consider making a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Last updated:
25 October 2021