Adrian and Taylor Valera came to St. Louis right before New Orleans closed businesses and schools for the pandemic, making a similar trip as Hurricane Ida loomed
ST. LOUIS — Headed home to an unknown situation in New Orleans, one can understand why Adrian and Taylor Valera might have a case of déjà vu.
“We’re looking at each other like ‘we just did a full circle, and it’s been an entire year,'” Adrian said from the driver’s seat of their car.
Pregnant in her third trimester, Taylor came to St. Louis for a baby shower with friends and family in spring 2020. At the same time, COVID cases spiked in her home city New Orleans, forcing the expectant parents to make a tough decision and ride out the start of the pandemic in St. Louis.
They eventually returned to New Orleans with baby boy Rio home, but Ida forced pushed them back up the Mississippi once again, first to Memphis then St. Louis.
“We haven’t heard good things at all,” Taylor said of the updates from friends and family. “We heard it looks like a bomb exploded there. A lot of people have not come back yet.”
To make matters worse, their loved ones had a close call during the storm. Ira’s historic winds heavily damaged Adrian’s dad’s home, though luckily nobody was hurt.
“My dad’s house collapsed. We are assessing the problems now, and we are going to help out as much as possible,” Adrian said. “It reminds me of Katrina. That’s a callous that will never go away.”
The couple knows they’ll have their work cut out for them on repairs, and expect it could be weeks without utilities. They’ve started a GoFundMe — like so many others — to help them get through rebuilding.
Since their last stint in St. Louis, the young couple got married, got a new place, and started their own businesses. They hope this is the last time they’ll seek shelter in St. Louis.
“It was definitely déjà vu,” Taylor said, adding “we are more prepared this time.”
To contribute to the Valeras rebuilding fund, visit GoFundMe.
Originally Appeared Here