Biloxi relief group making an impact in flood areas

The mayor and City Council of Independence, La. will be serving steak dinners tonight to a group of off-duty and retired Biloxi firefighters who have cooked and served meals and gutted nearly a dozen homes in and around the small flood-stricken town.

The Biloxi contingent, which arrived in Independence on Aug. 25, spent their first day cooking and serving beef and pork steaks, roast beef, hamburgers and hotdogs to more than 1,100 relief workers and residents whose homes were heavily damaged in catastrophic floods that struck Baton Rouge and the surrounding area.

“Eight of us arrived on Thursday,” Fire Chief Joe Boney said this afternoon. “We worked through the weekend and gutted five homes in Independence, then we traveled to Zachary and gutted a home there. ¬†Then we did four more in Baton Rouge and we’re working on our fifth now.”

On Monday, 18 off-duty Biloxi firefighters arrived, bringing the Biloxi group to more than two dozen.

The Biloxi relief effort was organized by the West End Hose Co. No. 3, the city’s all-volunteer fire museum, with donations from are businesses and individuals. An online donation effort also raised funds.

Boney, who said the Biloxi group is expected to return home Thursday, has worked alongside two fellow chiefs who he had befriended: New Sharon Iowa Hills (Iowa) Chief Steve Garrard, who assisted in Biloxi after Katrina, and Independence Fire Chief John Polito, who Boney met at the National Fire Academy.

Earlier this week, the leaders of Independence recognized the trio and their volunteers with a standing ovation at a City Council meeting.
See photos from the front lines
Video: Independence leaders salute Biloxi, New Sharon


News and Notes

Pool party:  In celebration of a new school year, the Parks & Recreation Department will hold its annual Back-to-School Pool Party Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Biloxi Natatorium. The pool party is free and open to the public.  To see the flyer, click here.

Photo album #1:  The city council held a special called meeting on Tuesday to continue discussions of the municipal budget for FY 2017.  To see images from that meeting, click here.

Photo album #2: ¬†Biloxi Excel by 5 held a ribbon cutting earlier today to commemorate the organization’s new facilities at the Lopez Elementary School. ¬†To see images from the ribbon cutting, click here.

Photo album #3:  Parks & Recreation and Public Works crews are working on U.S. 90 this week to remove sand and trim medians on east and central beach in Biloxi.  To see images of the work, click here.