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Hurricane Ida destroyed her bowling alley. Now, its pieces are saving others

When Hurricane Ida peeled off much of the roof of Bowl South of Louisiana, it took the only lifestyle Marie had ever known.

Katie Moore / Eyewitness News

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Published: 8:18 PM CDT November 1, 2022
Updated: 10:28 PM CDT November 1, 2022

This story is part two of Katie Moore's two-part series on Bowl South of Louisiana in Houma, La. Click here to read part one of this series.

When Hurricane Ida churned over Terrebonne Parish in 2021, it tore apart a bowling center that had been a fixture on Grand Caillou Road for more than four decades. The howl of the hurricane’s winds would be the death knell for Bowl South of Louisiana, but the long-time owner chose to keep its parts and pieces alive by sending them to other struggling bowling centers across the country.

Marie Lirette started working at the Houma bowling center in 1976 and never left. She bought it in the early ’90s and she and her husband, Terry, raised her business as if it was their baby.

When the hurricane peeled off much of the roof and tore down large swaths of its brick walls a year ago, it took the only lifestyle Marie had ever known.

“I'm like, what am I supposed to do now? Kind of like, you know, the same feeling when you lose somebody that you love. What am I supposed to do now? And I couldn't answer that,” she said.

Credit: WWL

It felt the same for Marie as the day after Terry died a few years prior. But this time, it took the place that held so many of the memories they shared too.

One of Lirette’s regulars, RJ Ugas, encouraged her to try and save some of the equipment that still appeared to be in working order.

“I kind of kept sending Marie hints. I'm like, hey, let's try to save the equipment list. I think the lanes are still good,” he said.

While it was covered in debris and chunks of the roof and walls that surrounded it, some of the essential parts that you need to run a bowling center survived.

Marie posted the available parts on a Facebook group for bowling parts and bowling centers from across the country wanted them.

Eight of them, to be exact.

The first one to come get a piece of Bowl South was in Worland, Wyoming.

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