Southeast Missouri State University student publication

“Beyond the Storm” musical raises funds for south Louisiana affected by hurricane

Monday, January 31, 2022
The Fountain Street Brass performing a redition of Amazing Grace.
Photo by Miya Andrews

Students, staff and community members gathered at the Southeast River Campus Shuck Recital Hall Saturday, Jan. 29, to raise funds for families in south Louisiana who lost their homes during Hurricane Ida.

Sarah Grosse, sophomore at Southeast Missouri State University, coordinated the event. Before coming to SEMO, Grosse lived in LaPlace, La., with her family.

“I am from about 30 minutes outside of New Orleans, and so the damage for us was just really specific to those areas outside of New Orleans. It was just huge damage, just like Katrina-level,” Grosse said. “People were without water, sewage, electricity and no food or running water for weeks.”

Grosse's family evacuated and came to Cape Girardeau for a month when the storm hit.

“My dad went back to assess the damage, and all of our ceilings had collapsed from rain that had gotten into the attic and just busted through the ceilings, so pretty much all of our furniture was wrecked,” Grosse said. “The ceilings in the kitchen, my bedroom and the entire living room — insulation was everywhere, and it was just a huge mess.”

Grosse said she decided to help the Louisianan community because she felt like there was nothing she could do at the time of the storm.

“I was at River Campus, and I was like, ‘Man I want to be able to do something, but I don’t want to just have like a bake sale,’ and I was like, ‘I am surrounded by so many talented people, and I have a lot of friends here who I feel like would want to help me out,’” Grosse said.

She started working with St. John United Way Hurricane Ida Fund, a branch of her parish in Louisiana, to send donations.

“I was looking for different organizations that we might be able to donate to, but it can be so tricky sometimes, because you don’t always know where your money is going, and I did not want my donations to just go into someone’s pocket,” Grosse said. “I wanted it to go directly into the communities that were mostly directly affected.”

Grosse said she knew working with this organization would be beneficial to those smaller communities that need more help.

“I knew this organization had a direct fund that they were going to be using to help people in these communities that had suffered damage and were displaced from their homes, so I knew that it would be helping with construction, food, clothing and stuff they might need to get back up on their feet, so I knew that this was a trustworthy organization to donate too,” Grosse said.

Austin Kerley, a sophomore majoring in music education, performed a saxophone quintet during the musical. Kerley said he felt many shocking emotions after seeing the photos and videos of the damage from Hurricane Ida.

“You always hear on the news that this hurricane was really bad, but actually seeing that and being like, ‘Yeah, this is really her home like that,’ it just made me think, like, ‘Wow, I couldn't even imagine my town being like that,’” Kerley said. “It really pushed me to want to help even more.”

Grosse said individuals may donate on Venmo at beyondthestormla. Anyone wishing to contribute cash or checks can reach out to Sarah by email at