JACKSON – Twenty-one Mississippi Probation & Parole officers traveled over 200 miles to help 600 Louisianans, most of whom are still homeless because of Hurricane Ida. Most of the population of the Jean Lafitte community ten miles south of New Orleans was devastated by Ida and still remains without power.
Mississippi Department of Corrections Probation & Parole Community Corrections Director in Pascagoula, Terri Maranoci, said, “When we arrived, the community was still torn up with mud caked over everything like lava flows. People were living in cars and sleeping on picnic tables. Most houses are still flooded out. Many are being bulldozed. Power lines are still down. Animals are roaming freely.” Twenty fellow P&P officers from Mississippi joined Maranoci, traveling from as far away as Greenville and Greenwood. “DAT Kitchen Too,” a Waveland, Mississippi, restaurant, joined MDOC’s crew in feeding pulled-pork sandwiches and chips to the 600 mostly homeless.
Maranoci knows about homelessness. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded her Pascagoula home with five feet of water. She lost everything. Volunteers from Louisiana and Alabama came to help her clean up and recover. “I enjoy returning the favor,” she said. “We are here to help others.”
Maranoci is a true giver. The February before Hurricane Katrina, she volunteered to give part of her liver to her mother in a serious surgical procedure. A month later, she discovered she was pregnant. Terri was six-months pregnant when Katrina blew ashore and she delivered her son in the early days of rebuilding her life. He is now 15. Terri’s mother lived another 10 years.
“I’d do it all again if I had to,” Maranoci said. “People helping people multiplies the good. Probation and Parole is about helping people get back on their feet. That’s what hurricane recovery is too. We all go through storms and helping others is the best way to deal with them.”