Milwaukee charities, businesses look to help victims of Hurricane Ida

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Gregory Johnson brought Louisiana-style cuisine to Milwaukee, opening On the Bayou after evacuating New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

"I thought the end of the world was coming," Johnson said. "It was just a real bad day. We didn't know what to do...my house got flooded to the roof twice."

After going through a hurricane himself, Johnson now wants to organize local businesses to send water and goods to the area.

"Get the stuff down to Louisiana because those people are down there. They're starving. They're in need of goods, especially now that they don't have any electricity in New Orleans."

Johnson encourages anyone who wants to join the effort to reach out to him.

The Wisconsin Red Cross currently has three people on the ground in Louisiana, and are still assessing how many more to send. They said it usually takes several days after hurricanes to know how many volunteers are needed.

"Until we can really start to get into some of those affected communities, we won't really know the extend of the need, whether it be meals or longer term housing, that kind of thing, in the days ahead," Red Cross Regional Communications Director Justin Kern said.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army both said, rather than donate items, it's better to send them money.

"We're able to find out what the needs are and then exactly meet those needs, whether there be group gatherings of different kinds of donations," Wisconsin Salvation Army Service Extension Director Ken Tregallas said.

The Blood Center of Wisconsin said there is also a need for blood donations. There was a national blood shortage before the hurricane.

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