SATSUMA, LA (WAFB) - Residents who used their own money to repair their homes after Hurricane Isaac could soon get a check from the federal government.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened up an office in Livingston and Ascension Parishes on Friday to help residents apply.
FEMA said it plans to help those who qualify with property damage, but could not say when or how.
Charlotte Bernard said she will never forget what it was like to ride out the storm in her small trailer in Walker.
"When the branches hit the roof, it's like your trailer just shimmied," Bernard said.
The branches from the tree in her front yard punctured two holes above the ceiling of a bedroom.
On Friday, Bernard joined other Livingston Parish residents lined up outside the newly opened FEMA disaster center to apply for help from FEMA. There were no workers set up behind the tables, just telephones phones on tables around the room. FEMA representative, Gary Grabow, told residents how the process works.
"You just answer questions. Boom! At the end you get your nine digit number," Grabow explained.
Bernard was one of the first to file her report. She left with her FEMA-issued identification number and said she was told someone would be calling her soon to survey the damage at her home.
Others were not so pleased with the response they got. One resident, who says she was displaced after the storm, broke into tears after FEMA told her she would have to wait for a check.
Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said the opening of the center is a huge step in the recovery process.
"This deals directly with the people who lost something. So it means a lot to them and it also gives us an assessment of how many homes were damaged by wind or flood," Ricks said.
Meantime, Bernard returned home with food, water and a cleaning kit, courtesy of the Salvation Army. She said it is just enough to hold her over while she waits for FEMA's call.
The Livingston center, which is located just north of Interstate 12 in Satsuma will be open seven days a week, from 8am to 6pm. You need bring proof of residency to apply.
The Ascension center is in the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center on St. Landry Rd. in Gonzales. They will be open every day from 8 am to 6 pm until further notice.