East Feliciana: Small businesses opening their doors to storm ravaged communities

EAST FELICIANA – Hundreds are still in the dark today, two days after storms ripped through the parish. Nearly 4,500 are still without power in East and West Feliciana and surrounding parishes. As recovery continues, stories of beautiful humanity are emerging.

The best of Louisiana always seems to shine through in crisis. So many neighbors have been out helping neighbors. Strangers are lending a hand in whatever way they can.  Small businesses, like Jackson Oaks Eatery, are stepping up to help however they can.

“Yesterday, we were offering free bags of ice to anybody because I know people were still without power and stuff like that. I’m gonna try to get some water out there today. Some bottles of water to be handed out today.” owner, David Gautreaux said.

Gautreaux tells UWK that his restaurant regained electricity yesterday. A few hours later, electricity was restored at his home. It didn’t take long for him to offer services to the community. 

“We posted on Facebook that anybody can come and charge their phone, bring their laptop, do their work, or whatever the case may be. We would feed them, we would give them whatever we can to help them out in that situation.” Gautreaux tells us.

It seems great minds really do think alike. Just about 11 miles away, another business owner had a similar idea.  Janice Harvey opened her store, Em & Lizzie’s for the community as well. 

“We know many of you in East Feliciana Parish still do not have power restored. Stop in for a complimentary cup of coffee, free wifi, and an outlet to charge your phone if needed.” their Facebook post read.

Harvey, a teacher by day, is no stranger to hard times. The store was birthed through grief. Shortly after the birth of their daughter, her husband, Nathan Harvey, 40, died unexpectedly. Left with two beautiful girls, Elizabeth and Emmaline, she turned to retail therapy to occupy her time. That led to the sweetest little gift shop aptly named, ‘Em & Lizzies’, after the couple’s two greatest gifts.

So when the storm barreled through the city, it was no surprise to see Harvey open her doors to help her community who helped her through her tough time. 

Parish officials and linemen have been working hard to get the folks back on their feet. In the meantime, it’s also nice to have a little help from our friends.

“We are just a community. We have the community mindset that we’re all together, you know, unity across the board.” said David Gautreaux. 

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