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First Coast Connect

1/11/2018: Irma's Aftermath: The Rebuilding Continues; Local Salvadorans; Lantern Parade

Lindsey Kilbride

It’s been four months since Hurricane Irma and the flooding that hit the area. Thursday on First Coast Connect  we spoke with local attorney Charlie Jimerson who lost his home in the storm and suffered major damage to his business location (01:17).  

We also talked with Erika Curran, who leads the immigration clinic at Florida Coastal School of Law about local reaction to President Donald Trump’s decision to end the temporary protected status for Salvadorans living in the U.S (32:47).

Jacksonville Magazine and 904 Magazine Publisher and editor Joseph White told us about the upcoming lantern parade on Jacksonville’s Northbank. 

Irma’s Aftermath: The Rebuilding Continues

Families and businesses are still rebuilding here on the First Coast, after the historic flooding that followed Hurricane Irma in September.

The storm hit this area four months ago Thursday and although the eye of the hurricane skirted west of Jacksonville, in the aftermath we saw massive flooding.

Many families lost everything. Some people got a double whammy. The Irma flooding slammed into not only their homes, but also their businesses.

Charlie Jimerson was one of those. His Ortega house was a total loss and his firm, based in the downtown Wells Fargo tower, was also put into limbo for weeks because the floodwaters that poured into downtown Jacksonville closed the building after the basement parking garage filled with water.

He told us about his family’s ordeal and what life is like four months after the storm.

Local Salvadorans

Many immigrants from El Salvador are in a state of shock. On Monday, the Trump Administration announced that it willsoon be ending a humanitarian program that has allowed nearly 200,000 of them to live and work in the U.S. since 2001, after two earthquakes devastated their country. Now they worry for their future.

Curran said her phone has been ringing off the hook with local residents affected by this move.

Lantern Parade   

White said he got the idea of bringing alantern parade to Jacksonville after seeing one in Atlanta. Atlanta’s version started in 2010 and White went to it last year where an estimated 60,000 turned out to see it.

Jacksonville’s first lantern parade will take place April 7 on the Northbank Riverwalk from the Fuller-Warren Bridge to the Jacksonville Landing.  

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.