Local Businesses Cope With Ida Aftermath

Hurricane Ida
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, people gather in a restaurant along Bourbon Street, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

NEW ORLEANS – Hurricane Ida has created new challenges for New Orleans small business owners to overcome. We checked in with several to see how they’re coping. 

Meagen Moreland-Taliancich, co-owner of Happy Raptor Distilling

“Besides a downed tree and a pummeled patio, we are very lucky that Hurricane Ida didn’t create significant physical damage to the distillery. However, it has threatened our company’s survival and the livelihoods of our team. As a startup in its second year, we are vulnerable to any disaster that would cause a long-term closure. We opened in February 2020 – just before the pandemic shut down in Orleans parish – and that put us in a deeply precarious situation for obvious reasons. If it weren’t for our ability to stay open as an essential business, the production of hand sanitizer, and the support of our community, we would never have survived.”

Lawyer Rob Couhig, founder of Couhig Partners LLC

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team has been working proficiently with the tools we put in place over the last five years to prepare us for exactly these kinds of hurdles. It is essential for law firms to move toward nearly-paperless solutions and cloud storage and to be continually honing their computer literacy and evaluating the numerous software options that ease the stress of these complex times. Because of that preparation, we continue to provide quality services for our clients regardless of the circumstances.”

Brett Perrier, principal at Perrier Esquerré Contractors

“Experiencing Katrina firsthand, and the challenges of 2020, helped us to prepare for the obstacles we are currently facing. Don’t get me wrong, the emotions and stress levels are still very high, but I think as a small business we are finding ways to better handle these obstacles. We always find these challenges help the bond of our company culture grow stronger. We are always, always, keeping a positive attitude and outlook on the challenges ahead.”

Zachary Tyson, co-owner of Tyson Construction

“We are reaching out to all of our team of subcontractors, vendors and suppliers to see their current status and any needs they may have along with projected restart dates if they have not opened back up already. … Social media has been a vital source of information in following updates from parish governments, police departments, and elected officials. There has been a lot of good information coming from their posts. … The general feel from all of our team has been they want to get back to work and help out as much as possible. That has been refreshing to hear and helps motivate all of us to rebuild our beloved region yet again.”

Jacob Dufour, director of HR operations at HR Nola

“While our own HR Nola team has been greatly impacted by this storm, we implemented our emergency response plan and are safe, with most of us ready to support businesses remotely in whatever capacity is needed. Nolaready.gov has been a reliable source of information from the New Orleans area. … On behalf of the businesses we support, we’ve been busy conducting employee outreach, drafting policies and communications for inclement weather, remote work assignments, and planning for potential reorganizations. It is important to consider how you will handle wage and hour issues, attendance, safety, and business closures. Your employees may not be able to return to work immediately after your business is ready to reopen, so having a plan in place for those contingencies is important to your legal requirements and the retention of your staff.”

Paul Maxwell, vice president and senior communications officer at Hancock Whitney Bank

“By daylight on Monday, Aug. 30, Hancock Whitney green-lighted its pre-staged relief and recovery efforts, including a $2.5 million commitment to help clients, associates, and communities caught in the storm’s path. … Clients can visit www.hancockwhitney.com/ida for real-time updates on business operations, fee waivers, loan deferrals, disaster loans, and other recovery resources for people in declared disaster zones. … During the 122 years Hancock Whitney has served the Gulf South, the company has gained extensive experience in knowing what to do and what people need when a hurricane hits our hometowns. … We’re investing in efforts to move recovery forward and help our clients, associates, and communities come back stronger and better together from Hurricane Ida’s impacts. We are all Gulf South Strong!”

Categories: Today’s Business News