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Hurricane resistant home hopes to withstand nearing hurricane season

Kathey Anderson is one of only two people who were built a hurricane resistant home by volunteers.

NEW ORLEANS — Kathey Anderson loves caring for her roses and garden in front of her home off of St, Bernard Avenue. She remembers the day when she came back from Hurricane Katrina evacuation to a home that was nearly washed away.

“We got eight feet of water back here, so there was nothing left to rebuild,” said Kathey Anderson, 67.

Instead of leaving the city for good or spending all of her time on her own losses, she spent two years as a volunteer, rebuilding other people’s homes with Catholic Charities.

“My mother was in Memphis. She was dying of cancer, and she said, ‘I’m going to ask you on my dying bed, go back home and help rebuild your city,’” Anderson remembers.

In return, she was picked as one of the two people to get a hurricane resistant home built by LSU A Center, and Building Science Corporation with the Department of Energy Building America Program. 

Her house is on pilings with springs that rise and fall in water, so the foundation won’t crack, or the house won’t float away. There’s specially treated Hardie Board siding that won’t break apart and resists moisture. That also has another benefit.

“This is a termite free house. Termites will come here and be very disappointed,” she said.

The windows won’t break either. Kathey even tried to break one with a hammer. She says this also means there is no need for burglar bars. The roof has curves on the edges to there is no need for gutters and down spouts. The air conditioning unit is also raised on a platform that is made of water resistant material.

Inside the sheetrock is paperless and resists moisture. Kathey says a hard foam rubber was sprayed underneath it. The wood floors are made of bamboo so they won’t warp when wet.

This Green Dream house also keeps her heating and cooling costs down.

“And all this is volunteer work. We didn’t spend a dime for this.” She also added that her insurance is discounted.

During Hurricane Ida, Kathey didn’t have the usual pre-hurricane anxiety.

“Felt good to know as far as water, I wasn’t worried about that,” she remembers.

With hurricane season less than a month away, and thousands still living in homes not fixed after Hurricane Ida, Jefferson Parish emergency teams and leaders gathered Monday to urge everyone to start getting ready for the season now.

“That we have to come to the realization, the probability that we’re going to get hit has increase also with those threats. On top of that, the intensity of these storms is increasing.” said Joe Valiente, the Director of Emergency Management in Jefferson Parish.

Falling trees often kill people, damage property, and take down powerlines during hurricanes. If you know of a tree on the public right of way that doesn’t look safe or healthy, report it to the Parkways Department: 504-349-5800

Carbon monoxide also kills people after hurricanes. If you own a generator, the parish experts urge you to have a carbon monoxide detector.

If you are a person who can’t evacuate on your own because of medical or special needs, register now with the parish.

If you are still in a FEMA trailer, Jefferson Parish is looking for ways to strap them down, but highly recommend that if a storm is approaching, you evacuate.

Jefferson Parish says it is looking at people who live in senior apartments, going to local shelters if they need to evacuate.