Cecil Lapeyrouse’s grocery store has been in Chauvin for more than a century. It has seen two world wars, depression, storms, and pandemics, but nothing like Ida has ever seen it.
The Category 4 hurricane winds tore down sheds, threw gasoline tanks, tore off parts of the roof and dented the floor of the 107-year-old store, causing more damage than any previous storm.
“It will never be the way it was, you know?” Owner Cecil Lapeyrouse said. â€œYou always get hold of ‘Oh, this was done for Ida. … It will never be the same again. “
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He is not alone.
Everywhere in the bayous of the southern Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, rubble piles higher than the few remaining houses. Clean water and electricity are unlikely to be returning anytime soon.
But even if power returns to their neighborhood, the Lapeyrouses are unlikely to be able to use it. Your business and home, like so many in the area, will require extensive electrical work before they can safely turn the lights back on.
“If I had electricity today, I couldn’t turn this place on because there are just too many open ends,” Lapeyrouse said.
Volunteers distribute hot meals, clean water, and ice, but what Cecil needs to get back on his feet is manpower.
“Just to clean up and fix things,” he said. â€œA lot of people have no money, but they just need help. It’s tough on them, you know, and that’s why it’s going to take so long. “
It could be months, maybe more than a year, before the grocery store reopens and Cecil is back home with his family. But there was no doubt about Cecil Lapeyrouse’s Grocery that they would build again.
“I can guarantee we won’t be able to go on vacation in the store, so it’s well into next year,” he said. â€œI’d love to be able to open today, you know, but I mean, it’s just not possible that fast with this amount of damage.
“It will be alright. We will stick with it. “
If you can help, email Cecil and Etta Lapeyrouse at [email protected].