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The Ladays: One family’s personal story

Luckily for Ernest and Hattie Laday of Lutcher, they weren’t home when Hurricane Isaac played havoc in south Louisiana. But when they returned from Dallas after caring for Ernest’s sick brother, they found their mobile home of 28 years in bad shape.

The storm’s winds had destroyed the roof and let rain pound inside the two bedrooms, the bathroom and through the doors.

“We came back to a disaster,” Hattie Laday, 68, said. “We had a lot of water damage. It didn’t come in from the street (their home is approximately three feet above the ground). The wind messed up my roof, and it rained in the bathroom, our front bedroom and came in through the doors.”

Isaac worse than Katrina
“This was worse than Katrina,” Ernest Laday, 70, said.

They lost clothing, a bedspread and draperies, and they had damaged doors.

Because her neighborhood – like so many others in and around the New Orleans – was without power for four days, she lost all the food in her refrigerator and freezer.

“It was smelly and wet in the bathrooms,” she said. A power surge also occurred during the storm and rendered their washing machine useless.

The Ladays have been married 43 years. They are retired and on a fixed income. At the time of the storm, they didn’t have insurance, so money was not available to repair their home.

“We had to live here,” said Laday, daughter of a Baptist minister. “We had no other choice. We applied for FEMA funds but didn’t get anything.”

A friend of Hattie Laday’s told her to call the number for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans Hurricane Isaac Case Management program operating from St. John (civil) Parish’s Volunteer Reception Center at New Wine Church in LaPlace.

Got the help
She did and received an appointment for an interview. The Ladays said they were asked questions about the damage, and then someone was sent out to assess their damage and take pictures. Their damages came to $3,000.

Catholic Charities has replaced their washing machine and – through a licensed carpenter that the Ladays selected – is in the process of repairing the home – redoing sheetrock where necessary and sealing the roof.

They are pleased with the work being done.

“We are so blessed,” Hattie Laday said. “It is a blessing to have a new washing machine. Without my machine, I had to do like the old days – soak it by hand overnight (for the past two years).”

Without the help of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans’ Hurricane Isaac Case Management Program, the Ladays said it would have taken them even longer to get their home back in shape.

“We appreciate it,” Ernest Laday said. “I think it should be like that – all religious helping people, period.”

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