Isaac's Aftermath: Operation Blessing Steps In

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SAINT BERNARD PARISH, La. -- Now that Isaac has moved out of New Orleans the rebuilding and recovery begins.

CBN's Operation Blessings International is on the ground in one of the hardest hit areas.

The team managed to serve more than 2,000 meals in two hours.

The Aftermath

A flood wall separates Saint Bernard Parish from Plaquemines Parish. It also divides the story of Isaac's impact after the storm had finally moved out.

Give to Operation Blessing Disaster Relief

Saint Bernard residents began their Thursday clearing debris. In East Plaquemines, rescue teams boarded boats to tour an area where floodwaters are still higher than most homes.

East Plaquemines residents Becky Wortmann and her husband have spent the last five years fixing one of those homes. It was ruined by Hurricane Katrina.

"We were supposed to be moving in next month. But there might be a little delay now," she said. "It was definitely blitz during Katrina. But believe it or not, there was less water then than there is now."

To alleviate some of the flooding, authorities breached a strained levee. Still, workers estimate it will take another two weeks before the water recedes enough for people to actually see their homes or the road.

Residents are already tired of waiting. They took comfort, however, when they caught sight of a caravan of relief vehicles rolling in.

"It just fills our heart with hope," Wortmann said. "We are just stubborn Cajuns and most of us are devout Christians. But when people come to help, that just means the world."

A Hot Meal and Prayer

Jody Gettys, head of disaster relief for Operation Blessing, was present seven years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit. It was her first day on the job.

"When I first saw the boats floating, tears started coming to my eyes and I was like, 'God they can't take this again," she said. "So if there is anything that I would ask people to do, that is just to pray for them."
The disaster response began with a hot meal, where there is a long line of people and storm survivor stories.

St. Bernard Parish resident Catherine White and her 18-month-old haven't had a hot meal in four days.

"Without you all, we probably wouldn't have a hot meal until Monday because they say it will be several more days before we get power," White said of Operation Blessing.

Another St. Bernard Parish, Lawrence Goettz, said she was grateful to still have a home after living in a FEMA trailer for a year after Katrina.

"It's something I need. A hot meal is something I need when you eat a lot of snacks. It's time to get something more nourishing," Goettz said.

Resident James Shepherd is exhausted after living through Katrina and now Isaac.

"I don't think I want to stay anymore. I think this is it for me," the St. Bernard Parish resident said.
Rebuilding Homes, Lives

A hot meal is where Operation Blessing began this mission. From there, the team will begin restoring hope by helping people rebuild their homes and their lives.

"With Katrina, we grew so much in capacity, even in expertise," Gettys said. "Of course there are a lot of things that are very similar, but we are seven years down the road. So we can help a lot more people in a more efficient manner."

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at