St. John residents continue rebuilding year after Hurricane Isaac

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 10:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 29 at 9:08 AM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

LAPLACE, La. -- One year after Hurricane Isaac, St. John the Baptist Parish continues to bounce back from the storm.

LaPlace was one of the hardest hit communities in the parish. Eyewitness News checked back with one family on their journey to recovery.

"It came fast. So, so fast," said Rosalind Hutson.

Her home was a causality of Isaac like thousands of others. Within 30 minutes, about 20 inches of water filled the LaPlace home, destroying everything.

"It's going to be right in this general direction. Right here is where the water level came up to. Everything just saturated," said Clifton Hutson.

We first introduced you to the LaPlace family nine days after the storm. They were stripping down their home to the studs and piling their water-logged belongings on the front lawn.

A year later, the St. John the Baptist Parish neighborhood has bounced back.

"You wanna see the walk-in shower?" Clifton said.

After fighting their insurance companies and putting in long hours of construction work, the Hutsons are back under their own roof. The retirees returned just before Thanksgiving of last year, unlike some neighbors.

"There's still some houses where they haven't done anything inside and there are still some of that. They're still working on it," said Rosalind.

Parish officials say almost 7,000 homes flooded during Hurricane Isaac, and since then 85 percent to 90 percent of those property owners have returned.

"Clearly any area outside a hurricane protection system is vulnerable, and that was demonstrated by Hurricane Isaac," said St John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom. She continues to fight for levees and pump stations to protect the area.

Robottom said an Army Corps of Engineers feasibility study and last week's proposal to build a $881 million levee alignment system are all steps in the right direction.

"Now we need the construction dollars. The fight's not over. We're extremely pleased that we've made it this far within the last year. I don't know that it would have happened without the flooding," Robottom said.

It was flooding that caught thousands off-guard as Isaac, storm surge and all, stalled, dumping torrential rain on homes and displacing families like the Hutsons.

Now the LaPlace family is happy to be back home and, most importantly, together.

If another storm comes they'll evacuate.

"I don't think I can go through it again. I think if this happens, we're taking our truck. We take what we can and go," said Rosalind.

 

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