Restore Louisiana helping small businesses recover from storm damage

A business owner in Ascension Parish is now getting some relief after experiencing damage from severe storms.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:26 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:51 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A business owner in Ascension Parish is now getting some relief after experiencing damage from severe storms.

After recovering from the historic floods in 2016, owner of Duckroost Seafood and Deli David Roques thought he was done with repairs, but then Hurricane Ida hit in 2021.

“Wind damage, roof damage, I used to have a pavilion outside that’s no longer there, we were actually out of power for a week,” said Roques.

Putting more of a strain on him by having to pay out of pocket to get his business back up and running.

“Recovering, rebuilding, fighting insurance companies, getting short on cash so yeah, there’s a big impact on a small business after these events,” said Roques.

Now, Roques might finally see some relief.

He’s getting a piece of the nearly $100 million available in the Louisiana Office of Community Development Small Business Loan Program. Money that’s helping him cover things like utilities, increasing inventory and hiring more employees to allow him to continue to grow.

“It’s going to help the community,” said Roques. “There’s many things that I spent money repairing that I didn’t have the capital to chase after the things I want to do here, so now I will.”

Cullen Curole is overseeing the intake process for the loan program with South Central Planning and Development Commission. He said Roques isn’t the only business still recovering two years after the storm hit.

“You drive around, and you see the blue roofs and buildings that are not repaired,” said Curole. “Again, this is going to be working capital and equipment for these businesses that they may not have been able to afford to repurchase since the storm.”

Small businesses and non-profits throughout the state who have experienced damage from severe storms in 2020 to 2021 have until December 31st to apply for the loan program on the Restore Louisiana website. They can receive anywhere from $10,000 - $150,000 for the partially forgivable loan.

It’s something Executive Director Pat Forbes believes will help keep people like Roques in business.

“It becomes more and more difficult to stay in business and this is just one small piece of an infrastructure of trying to make sure that we keep our small businesses successful and healthy after a disaster,” said Forbes.

“It’s a good thing to see people recover but the relief that people are going to feel is the extra I guess and now we’re going to move forward,” said Roques.

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