In the 1930s two school buildings were floated down Bayou Terrebonne that became the Indian School in Montegut. During the mid 80s, the UHN purchased the property and building, which required some much needed attention following flooding in 1992 with Hurricane Andrew. Through the work of volunteers, the building soon became a gathering place for the tribal communities in the eastern bayou communities of Terrebonne Parish where community meetings and gatherings took place regularly. Additionally a community church operated from the building for a few years until their permanent facility was built.
Following Hurricane Katrina, a small kitchen fire occurred that we believe was the result of a transient, homeless person moving into the building. The fire caused enough damage to the building making it unusable until repairs could be made. Over the years the UHN has worked with outside volunteers to clear the damage, clean the facility and complete some light repairs. Additionally the roof has been repaired following roof damage from Hurricane Isaac. Based upon cursory evaluations by area contractors, the fire damage is primarily cosmetic.
With Hurricane Season less than a week away, this building is a key part of the UHN's disaster planning as a series of community centers are needed to assist citizens with recovery should a tropical storm or hurricane wreaks havoc on our communities. Particularly, the Tribal Center in Montegut is critical as the communities of Isle de Jean Charles and Point aux Chene are some of our most vulnerable communities to repetitive flooding.
In addition to the building facilities getting up and running, we are underway with plans for outdoor grounds. We have broken ground on our first community garden and have been clearing a walking/educational trail behind the building.
So what do we need to keep these efforts moving? Volunteer help. The building repairs are at the point where we need skilled and semi-skilled workmen who have knowledge in carpentry, electrical and plumbing and well as general volunteers to help with fundraising and ongoing general labor.
Over this summer we will be planning community work days and need your help in planning. I know so many of our tribal citizens are incredibly talented and skilled in building trades and we need your help and guidance in developing the work plan as well as assistance with raising the funds to purchase materials and supplies needed to complete the project.
I am personally excited to see this building be transformed back into meeting the needs of the community and look forward to working side-by-side with you all. Please CONTACT US with your willingness and availability to help.
Yakoke et bien merci!!!
Thomas Dardar, Jr.