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Local car club headed to Louisiana for Hurricane Ida relief

501 Jeep Club is made up of off-road trail enthusiasts, handling some of the worst terrain in their modified Jeeps. Now, they're headed south to help those in need.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's become a common sight to see pictures and videos demonstrating the destruction left behind by Hurricane Ida – but so have stories of people helping those in need.

The '501 Jeep Club' is adding on to those stories by traveling to New Orleans to help. It's a flashback Mike Stuart never thought he'd experience again.

"Just seeing some of the news flashes, it this just instantly reminds you," Stuart said.

16 years ago, Stuart was in New Orleans helping with the cleanup of Hurricane Katrina. 16 years later, and he's heading right back.

"You can have an itinerary, you can have a destination, you can have all the intentions in the world," he said. "Once you get down there, that reality is going to hit and it's going to hit hard."

501 Jeep Club is made up of off-road trail enthusiasts, handling some of the worst terrain and conditions in their modified Jeeps.

But the road to New Orleans is a different kind of trail, and one that group member, Amelia Strickland, has been down before – she lived in southern Louisiana during Katrina.

"Nothing, nothing left. Their roofs are gone so your house is destroyed," she said. "I mean, where are you, there's nowhere to go."

Hurricane Ida hits even closer to home for her this time.

Strickland's son still lives in southern Louisiana.

"Being a mom this far away, you know, I couldn't reach him. I couldn't talk to him, you couldn't reach the police department," she said. "So I mean, I don't know. It's gut-wrenching, it really is."

Memories of a rougher past are what's driving both Stuart and Strickland back down south. The group piled together food, water, and other supplies Friday night with plans to head to Louisiana Saturday morning.

"You know, they say, 'I wish I could do something,' or 'that's terrible,'" Stuart said. "This is your chance. Do something, just donate something."

Strickland said the 501 Jeep Club is like a family – and that doesn't stop at just their members.

"We are. That's what we're about," she said. "We're about community, just like Louisiana is about community. We had to come out and do something, we have to help."

Even when the supplies run out, Stuart and the rest of the club will still be there to help as long as they need to.

"Those are our neighbors, they need help," he said. "We need to go help them, that's the right thing to do."