Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you how great Wal-Mart and Sams Club responded to our needs immediately after Hurricane Katrina struck.
On Tuesday morning after the storm, I went to the Sams Club parking lot at Cleary and Airline Highway to talk with the F.E.M.A. Officials. Shortly after that meeting Mr. Ronnie Hayes came up to me and introduced himself and told me he would open the Harahan Store for us and for me to tell all the emergency workers to go into that Wal-Mart store and take whatever we needed.
Earlier that day we were allowed to take what we needed from the Sams Club store.
When I got to the Harahan Wal-Mart, the store was open and there was not a single Wal-Mart employee on the premises. Not only did Wal-Mart invite my personnel to take whatever they needed during this crisis, they allowed ALL emergency workers to come into the store and take whatever we needed.
Additionally, on Wednesday or Thursday after the storm, Wal-Mart sent three truck loads of bottled water.
Also, the Wal-Mart store in Marrero that had generator produced electricity allowed emergency workers to sleep in that Wal-Mart store and they also provided hundreds of emergency workers staying there with air mattresses and cots. Additionally, they opened that store for all emergency workers to come in and take whatever we needed.
Additionally, either Thursday or Friday, Deputy Chief Craig Taffaro and Colonel John Fortunato of my office escorted seven, repeat seven, large Wal-Mart tractor trailers of water and clothing to the New Orleans Police Department.
On the Sunday after the storm, Parish President Aaron Broussard quoted me on Meet the Press as follows: "Sheriff Lee stated that if responding agencies had acted as quickly as Wal-Mart did, a lot of suffering we had to endure would not have happened."
In the weeks ahead, I intend to take a full page ad in the Times-Picayune to express everyones appreciation to Wal-Mart and Sams Club for their generosity and necessary help to those emergency workers responding to the greatest natural disaster ever to befall the Continental United States.
Very truly yours,
The Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office has established a Deputy Disaster Fund.
From their website:
"We currently have nearly 100 deputies in need of housing and other assistance. We have set up a relief fund at Hibernia National Bank, Account No. 2080538556. Anyone who wishes to contribute to this fund can make a deposit at any Hibernia National Bank. We are spending the money on housing and clothing for the deputies who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. "