Bayou Communities: COVID isn't a priority

Posted at 3:44 PM, Sep 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-18 17:42:25-04

For one Chauvin woman, COVID-19 became an afterthought when Hurricane Ida forced her and her younger brother to sleep in a truck for days.

“I have a respiratory condition, so I always worried about the pandemic, and I was vaccinated months ago,” Cecile Neil said in front of what Ida left of her house. “But now I have so many other issues to solve that I don’t even worry about that too much anymore.”

The virus and the storm plotted against the Neil family at the same disturbing time. She lost her older brother to COVID-19 six days after she lost her home.

“He was 82, and he was the type of guy who said things like, ‘I don’t need the vaccine, I am strong, the vaccines are poison.’ It was old-school, you know, older school than I am. And he paid for it.”

On the streets of Chauvin, residents are worried about frayed wires, splintered trees, and blue tarps more than coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. At the Ward 7 Citizen’s Club on Highway 56, one of the six areas identified by the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government as a COVID-19 vaccination and testing site for the week, the National Guard was distributing hamburgers and water Thursday morning, not vaccinations.

“People don’t talk about coronavirus here,” said Dirk Guidry, Terrebonne Parish councilman for District 8. "They’re more worried about getting their things back together. The virus can’t be a priority in a moment when you don’t have a home.”

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