The Northwest Louisiana Chapter of the American Red Cross includes the ten Northwest Louisiana Parishes: Caddo, Bossier, Bienville, Lincoln, Natchitoches, DeSoto, Red River, Sabine, Webster and Claiborne. The Red Cross is chartered by Congress to provide disaster relief services and military assistance However, that mandate is not funded by the tax payers. The Red Cross is not a government agency and does not receive funding from the government. Services are provided through the generosity of the Northwest Louisiana public.
The Northwest Louisiana American Red Cross Greater provides three main services: Disaster Relief and Preparedness, Services for our Armed Forces and their families and Health and Safety Training. While most people think of the Red Cross helping during large disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav, our disaster services staff and volunteers are busy everyday responding to house and apartment fires – an average of one every 36 hours in the Shreveport/Bossier area. All Disaster Assistance is free to the clients and can include everything from clothing, food and shelter to medication replacement and mental health support.
For our Armed Forces, the Red Cross provides the emergency communication link between service members and their families in times of crisis. In addition to working with families in times of immediate need, we also provide assistance to service men and women, and their families, beyond emergencies. The Red Cross offers courses such as Coping with Deployment to teach family members left behind how to adjust to daily living while their loved one is deployed. And we offer a series of courses called the Reconnection Workshop to help our service men and women when they return from deployment.
The Northwest Louisiana Chapter of the American Red Cross also offers a special program – a Pet Visitation Program. A certified Therapy dog team visits places such as the North Louisiana War Veterans Home, disaster shelters and sites, schools, libraries, pretty much anywhere they are invited! This program has proven to be a huge hit, especially with our veterans and disaster clients.
Our Health and Safety Department trains thousands of people every year to be safe and to save lives. Classes include CPR, First Aid, Babysitting, Aquatics classes and more. We offer training for both the general public and for private businesses. Call 1-800-RED CROSS for more information about our training classes.
2008May floods break a new record for the second most rainfall received in 24 hours (11.75 inches). In August, evacuations for Hurricanes Gutav & (later) Ike result in the largest ever movement of population (the entire southern part of LA – almost 2 million people - about ¾ of state’s population). Red Cross shelters remain open for 3 weeks, sheltering 13,000 individuals.
2005August - Hurricanes Katrina & Rita combine to make the longest and largest disaster response effort in the state’s history. In Northwest Louisiana alone, the Red Cross provided shelter for more than 24,000 individuals over 49 days. In Northwest Louisiana, more than $22 million was spent responding to this ever changing disaster
1991April – Massive flooding affects thousands of families and impacts most of North Louisiana, becoming the most expensive disaster recovery to date in the region
1978December – Tornado strikes Bossier City – it is the most destructive tornado in the area on record
1917June 22 – Caddo Chapter (now Northwest Louisiana Chapter) of the American Red Cross Chartered