Students spend Christmas break doing relief work


NATCHITOCHES – A group of NSU students spent three days of their Christmas break giving aid to Texas residents who are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the storm that made landfall on the Texas coast last August with floodwaters that inundated thousands of homes.


Knowing that hundreds of homes still have not been cleaned out in the four months since Harvey flooded southeast Texas, Dr. Curt Phifer, a professor in the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University, recruited six students and a friend to work with Operation Blessing International, an agency that coordinates relief work world-wide.  This was the third student team Phifer has helped do hurricane Harvey recovery work.


The group assisted James and Debby Bitcham, Port Arthur, Texas, residents, whose home had flooded up to the ceilings.


“This meant all walls, ceilings, floors and insulation had to be removed to rid the house of black mold,” Phifer said.  “The team had a surprise when they discovered a honeybee hive in the wall of a seldom-used bedroom.  Removal of the bees and hive slowed the team’s work, but they were rewarded with fresh honey from the comb.”


The team thanks alumni and the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health for financial support.

A team of NSU volunteers helped Port Arthur, Texas, residents gut and clear out their home, which suffered severe flood damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey last August. Pictured are James and Debby Bitcham, Dr. Curt Phifer, Ekaterina Bordelon, Kristen Prejean, Karoline Guidry, Jett Hayes, Haley Joncas, Tim Sartin and Eva Venzant. Many homes in the areas affected by flooding are still in need of repair.