Louisiana Flooding

Cat® Machines Help After Historic Louisiana Flooding

When catastrophic floods hit southern Louisiana in August 2016, the devastation was vast. In the days after, it was said to be the worst U.S. natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy. The flooding damaged more than 146,000 homes across the region—touching many Cat® dealer employees and their friends and families. But that didn’t stop Cat dealer Louisiana Cat from jumping into action to help not just its own people, but also the communities it serves.

“Our HR department did a fabulous job of contacting our employees in the affected areas to find out what they needed and how we could help, even doing little things like making clean-up gift buckets with necessary items,” says Glenn Duplantis, branch manager at Louisiana Cat. “As a company, we made it a priority to make sure everyone was accounted for and determine what assistance we could provide.”

That included reaching out to Louisiana Cat customers to offer equipment and support for the clean-up efforts. With help from Caterpillar, the dealership identified one machine ideal for quickly removing debris from both residential and commercial areas: the Cat M316F wheeled excavator.

Louisiana Cat ordered four M316Fs equipped with trash grapples, which were rushed to the most affected area of Baton Rouge to collect household waste. According to Duplantis, the four machines cleaned up literally thousands of tons of debris over a 30-day period—and he appreciated the efforts the Caterpillar team made to ensure the equipment arrived on site and got to work as soon as possible.

 

“One of our Cat reps was very much involved in finding the machines and attachments, getting them here in days versus weeks,” Duplantis says. “He also came down to help us assemble the machines and do some training with the customer. It can take a little while to get used to operating these M316Fs, and he spent time with the customer to make sure they were comfortable using the equipment.”

That customer, Gator Environmental, had a contract to clean up approximately 330,000 tons of construction and debris—and company leaders credit both Caterpillar and Louisiana Cat for their rapid response in getting the equipment needed to the affected area.

For Duplantis, whose own home was damaged in the flooding, playing a role in the clean-up efforts helped lessen the blow from the flood’s devastation.

 

“THERE’S A TREMENDOUS SENSE OF PRIDE IN WORKING FOR A COMPANY THAT HAS NOT JUST THE ABILITY BUT ALSO THE ATTITUDE TO HELP IN ANY WAY WE POSSIBLY CAN.”

 

“There’s a tremendous sense of pride in working for a company that has not just the ability but also the attitude to help in any way we possibly can,” he says. “This was hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it was amazing to see people support one another like they did. So many of our people put in long hours getting the day-to-day work done while helping out their friends and families.”

Months after the flood, things are slowly getting back to normal—and for that, Duplantis credits the many, many national and local organizations who stepped in to help the people of southern Louisiana.

“They’ve done a wonderful job,” he says. “This place looks nothing like it did 30 days ago.”

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