St. James Parish starts cleanup of damage from strong storm system

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

ST. JAMES, La. -- In his 62 years, St. James Parish President Tim Roussel says he's never seen rain and flooding in his parish like he did Wednesday.

Now people who live and make a living there are cleaning up. Some are homeowners who never thought they needed flood insurance.

It was all hands on deck at Matherne's Supermarket in Paulina. An army of workers cleared out food that sat under eight inches of water. In the freezer, all the milk and cheese on the bottom level is gone. Two large dumpsters are filled to the brim with losses.

Everything from the warehouse is now outside, while inside, fans dry the newly mopped aisle floors.

"We got a lot of loss. It's not just merchandise. It's also equipment. It's a lot," said store owner Ernie Matherne.

He thinks losses will be in the hundreds of thousands.

When asked if he has a good flood insurance policy, he replied, "Uhh, I don't know yet. We'll find out."

His goal is to reopen Friday, but that's if all the electrical wiring for the checkout registers can be changed.

Not far away, truck driver Roland Jackson in some ways feels like he's starting over. He built his house with his bare hands, alone. He only got help with the brick siding.

Now at 67 years of age and after raising 12 children, this grandfather of 23 is rebuilding.

"We don't have no flood insurance because this area here, as of my knowing, wasn't required to have flood insurance, because we wasn't in a flood zone," Jackson said.

He can only guess what it will cost to rebuild after 8 inches of water.

"A pretty penny. A pretty penny. I could tell you that."

The parish president said there are three teams out right now assessing the damage. He knows of 75 homes and businesses that did take on water, but he thinks by the end of the assessment it's going to be more like 100 homes and residents.

"I don't let it get me down and I know it gonna be hard, but I'm gonna do what ever it take to do it and I'll never give up on nothin'," said Jackson.

Debris will be picked up in front of homes and businesses. If you flooded, the parish says call either the court house, the parish president's office or emergency preparedness. Or you can e-mail flood@stjamesla.com.

 

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