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Jennings gets head start on cleanup process

Posted at 10:09 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 22:14:22-04

JENNINGS — Hurricane Laura's winds uprooted trees and snapped branches across Jeff Davis Parish.

In Jennings, temperatures climbed into the 90s Wednesday, but that didn't stop the cleanup process.

"[I'm doing] a little bit today. It's hot. A very little," said Will Perkins, Jr., who is helping his daughter with debris around her home. "You need to cut the yard. You need to pick up the limbs. Haul all of that stuff to the road."

Some homeowners are trying to be patient. They know clearing debris from their property might take a while.

"I was glad the two [trees] in my front yard didn't fall," said homeowner Kimeka Perkins. "They are huge, but there was a lot of branches. We didn't have that much damage, but it's still a lot to finish."

The city government sent out its cleaning crews just hours after Laura made landfall.

"Once the wind laid down enough where it was safe, we started our push, our search and rescue," explained Mayor Henry Guinn. "We did an assessment, which was we count how many trees are down, what trees are entangled in power lines."

The city had more than 100 trees come down during the hurricane. All debris is being brought to the city's burn site on E Racca Road.

"We have contractors hired who are going through [the debris]. They know not to pick up shingles," said Guinn. "They know not to pick up white goods. We're not going to do anything to contaminate our burn site or contaminate air quality. We're very smart about what we're doing."

Guinn admits it's difficult to wait for federal agencies to step in.

"All I know is I want my town up and running," the mayor said. "I want it cleaned. I want it functional, organized. But, we were informed that if we don't go through the process with GOHSEP, then we don't get federal assistance."

Although Guinn says the cleanup is under control, the city is working with FEMA and GOHSEP to be reimbursed for the debris crews have removed.

"Our concern is getting Jennings up and running quickly, efficiently," said Guinn. "If we get reimbursed, wonderful. If not, I can safely say that we are organized, and we are going about it the best way we absolutely can."

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