Louisiana REALTORS® Bring Flood Relief
Rain was already coming down strong by the time Susan Holliday picked up her colleague Alice Clark for their drive to San Antonio, Texas, to attend the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2016 AE Institute in March.
“During the AEI, Alice (CEO of the Northeast Louisiana Association of REALTORS®) was on the phone often, getting updates on the flooding in her area,” says Holliday, CEO of the REALTOR® Association of Acadiana, La. “The news just kept getting worse and then she heard that one of her staff had about three feet of water in her home.”
More than two feet of rain fell across Northern Louisiana in a short time sparking major river flooding and rising to historic levels in some areas. State officials identified about 12,000 homes with reports of water damage across the state, and 26 areas were added to the list of federally declared disaster areas.
“We decided we had to do something to help,” says Holliday. “We discussed what needs [Clark’s] members would have and how my association could help.”
Northeast Louisiana Association staff members needed not only dry temporary housing, but new household items and appliances. They also needed basics such as coffee, toothpaste, paper products, and paper plates, says Holliday, which can quickly add up financially for those displaces by disaster. “So we decided that I would coordinate an effort when I returned from the AEI to collect those items and deliver them as soon as possible.”
The response from Acadiana Association members was “overwhelming, generous, and extremely humbling,” says Holliday. Her staff collected so many donations it filled a rented U-Haul trailer.
“My officers—Allen Duhé, president; Angi Trahan, president elect; and Lisa Roy Sheppert, treasurer—and I made the three-and-a-half-hour drive up to Monroe to meet the leadership of NELAR and unloaded the supplies,” recalls Holliday.
“Several NELAR members I met who were waiting for donations mentioned how strange it felt to be on the receiving end of aid since they are so often on the giving end,” says Holliday. “It was so moving to hear their stories and to see how much these simple items would help to make their current situation better.”