Teacher’s Aide, New Orleans Native Collects Water Donations for Hurricane Ida Victims

Alecia Williams knows what it’s like to live through a hurricane. She and her family evacuated New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina hit 16 years ago, and she never moved back. 

“We woke up on August 24, 2005, and realized we had lost everything. So my life changed forever," said Ms. Williams, who is now a teacher's aide at Hastings Elementary School.

Last month, Ms. Williams could only watch as Hurricane Ida hovered over her hometown for an entire week. The Category 4 storm became the second-most damaging and intense hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana.

“Around this time of the year I get anxiety really bad. It just brings up memories,” Ms. Williams said. "I take it real personal because I’ve been through it, and I felt real helpless not to be there and help those who are near and dear to my heart.”

It has been more than a month since Hurricane Ida hit, but Ms. Williams says there are many New Orleans residents, including her oldest son who are struggling to find the essentials.

“He said he had to go to five stores to look for bread or milk. If you don’t get to the store early in the morning, you’re losing out. There’s a limit on what you can get. A lot of things are not on the shelves," Ms. Williams said.

According to news reports, as recently as mid-September, nearly 640,000 people throughout Louisiana were still without running water. An article in online publication ‘Mother Jones,’ said damage from the storm forced hundreds of municipal water systems offline throughout the entire state. Officials have projected some areas could be without drinking water for weeks.

 “God just laid it upon my heart and I kept thinking what can I do? For people not to be able to get water – something we need every day,” Ms. Williams said.

Ms. Williams is launching a bottled water drive this week at Hastings Elementary school where she is a teacher’s aide. She plans to load a U-haul at the end of the week and drive to New Orleans to drop off the donations.

“I believe this is something we can share not just as a school but as a district and a community,” Ms. Williams said.

If you’d like to help, you can drop off cases of drinking water or gallons of water in the teacher’s parking lot at Hastings Elementary School during school hours from Tuesday, Sept. 28 through Friday, Oct. 1.  The school address is 602 West Center St.