SBA opens Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in 3 parishes hit by Feb. powerful storms

SBA opens Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in 3 parishes hit by Feb. powerful storms

PAINCOURTVILLE, LA (WAFB) - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Disaster Loan Outreach Centers will open in three Louisiana parishes affected by tornadoes and straight-line winds in February.

"All of a sudden we were swept up, and the trailer kind of dissipated around us. And we were in the air, I'd say about six feet."

With the blood gushing from her head and leg, Babette Quibodeaux somehow survived a powerful tornado that destroyed her RV on February 23.

"We caught sight of two bodies lying on the ground," Quibodeaux said. "And James covered my face and told me, 'Honey don't look that way'. And just, 'Somebody's gonna help, I'm gonna do what I can.'"

Those bodies were the two people killed by that tornado at the Sugar Hill RV Park in Convent.

Quibodeaux and her fiancé James still live at the park, where they're rebuilding their lives. Both of them were hospitalized and lost almost all of their possessions. They used savings to buy a new RV and they're still holding out hope they can salvage their truck.

Mark Anderson, the owner of the park, said he has managed to repair most of his rental sites, but there's still some small debris to clean up and fencing to fix. It will take some time until the park is back to where it was before the tornado.

"It's gonna take a good year to get our customer base back," Anderson said. "Build back our business, that's what's next."

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While residents and businesses recover, federal aid is finally on the way.

Gov. John Bel Edwards first asked the U.S. Government for a federal disaster declaration, which would have made grants available. That was denied twice.

He then turned to the SBA, which is now in the state, offering low interest disaster recovery loans.

The SBA said disaster relief outreach centers will open at the following locations Monday-Friday:

Assumption Parish
Community Worship Center at 6688 LA 70 North in Paincourtville
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

St. James Parish
Romeville Senior Center at 8188 Romeville Street in Convent
Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

St. John the Baptist Parish
New Wine Church at 1929 West Airline Highway in LaPlace
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Officials said no appointment is necessary. The offices will remain open until further notice.

SBA officials said homeowners will need a photo ID and proof of their social security number. Business owners should bring in as much paperwork as they can, like profit and loss statements.

"Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster," said SBA's Louisiana District Director Michael Ricks in a written release. "Beginning Monday, May 9, SBA representatives will be on hand at the following Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to answer questions about SBA's disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their application."

Federal low-interest disaster loans are available to businesses and residents in Ascension, Assumption, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St Martin, St. Mary, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne parishes.

Officials said disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners with interest rates as low as 1.813 percent. They added businesses and private nonprofits may borrow up to $2 million with interest rates as low as 4 percent for businesses and 2.625 percent for private nonprofits.

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