NewsCovering Louisiana


Leeville bait shop destroyed by Ida after more than 50 years in business

Posted at 7:29 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 11:29:53-04

Returning home to areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ida, so many across southeast Louisiana found devastation they never could have imagined.

There's hope here in Houma, where some people already have their electricity and the rebuilding process is continuing. But as you go further south, you see more damage. KATC spoke to one Leeville woman, who says she has nothing to go back to.

Before leaving Leeville, Gail Hayes took one last look at the life she's always known.

"Leaving, I thought I was coming home to my store, my trailer park, and my home. That was a nightmare. When I saw the pictures, nothing was left," said Hayes, who owns Gail's Bait Shop.

Hayes returned after Ida to nothing.

"The only thing I have left is the few cement slabs those people made," she said. "Everything else is gone. The docks, my cleaning facility, everything."

Hayes' parents opened Gail's Bait Shop in 1968, and she has worked there since she was 13.

29 years ago, she opened a trailer park, renting spots to several tenants. Since there's nothing left, Hayes says she won't return.

"That was heartbreaking for me to call each and every one of them...I wasn't coming back," she added. "I didn't have insurance, so financially I can't afford to do the elevation and rebuild that way."

She says she's not sure what will be next for her. There's a Facebook fundraiser set up to help the town of Leeville.

There is also a GoFundMe set up to help Hayes. Click here for that.

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