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Ida victim turns storm debris into Halloween decor


MANDEVILLE, La. (WVUE) – If there’s one word that perfectly sums up Louisianans, it’s perseverance.

With storm debris still littering his front yard, Ernie Griffin wouldn’t let a hurricane or the lack of collection dampen his holiday spirit.

In Old Mandeville, he and his family took some of the logs in his front yard, waiting for pickup, and painted the ends of them to look like Jack-O-Lanterns.

“Enjoy our log-o-lanterns,” he said.

“My family just wanted to share some good festive Halloween vibes with the community and try our best to inspire others to look at things in a positive light and try to make the best out of an unfortunate event,” Griffin told Fox 8.

St. Tammany Parish officials say debris pickup will continue through the end of October after FEMA extended a 30-day deadline to get 100% reimbursement for costs.

The contractor, DRC Emergency Services, is using a grid system to pick up debris parish-wide and is working seven days a week, officials say.

Mandeville Mayor Clay Madden says his personal goal is Halloween.

As you clean up, FEMA wants to remind you:

  • Due to the magnitude of the damage from Ida, you can move debris from your private property to public rights-of-way for pick up and removal by local governments for a limited time. Debris removal from private property is generally the responsibility of the property owner, just as before the hurricane.
  • Follow guidance from your local officials when placing debris for collection.
  • Separate debris into six categories when disposing along the curb:
    • Electronics, such as televisions, computers or phones.
    • Large appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves or dishwashers. Be sure to seal or secure the doors so that they are not accessible.
    • Hazardous waste, such as oil, batteries, pesticides, paint or cleaning supplies. If you suspect that materials contain lead-based paint, keep them moist or place the materials in plastic bags so that the paint does not become airborne.
    • Vegetative debris, such as tree branches, leaves or plants.
    • Construction debris, such as drywall, lumber, carpet or furniture; and
    • Household garbage, discarded food, paper or packaging.
  • Place debris away from trees, poles or structures including fire hydrants and meters.
  • Remove all water-damaged materials from your home and place curbside for pickup.
  • Debris should not block the roadway.

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