ST. AMANT, LA (WAFB) - Dean and Verna Bourgeois have been living in their carport for more than two and a half years. Their house was destroyed during the August 2016 flood and they were never able to recover.
Instead, they were forced to set up a tent, a cot, and a makeshift kitchen to live in their carport, protected only by a few boards and tarps.
On Wednesday, April 10, that all changed as a new 2-bed, 2-bath single-wide mobile home pulled into their driveway.
“It’s awesome,” said Dean, who is disabled after diabetes and gangrene claimed his right leg below the kneecap. “The people, good people, do come together to help people."
The home is from a group of friends put together by Brandi Brignac, who saw a story on WAFB about the Bourgeois’ dire situation and decided she had to help.
“We’ve literally been on the ground doing everything ourselves,” said Brignac. “Nothing was contracted out, nothing was, it was, ‘Let me call my friends, let’s see what they can do.’ I had a friend come out with an excavator, we had a skid steer, and started knocking stuff down, so the biggest part of it is just getting the donation in to fill that new house.”
Just 18 days after she first saw the story, that new house showed up. And the mobile home is completely paid for.
"Wow! It's here! I'm not dreaming. It's awesome. It's unbelievable, it's actually here,” said Verna while clapping and jumping up and down.
For Brignac, helping the Bourgeois couple is just what she’s supposed to do.
“People ask, what is your pay off in this? I don’t get a payoff,” Brignac said. “I get to know that they’re sleeping in a place that’s safe and that’s mold free and they can be healthy and live a normal life and that’s my payoff. I don’t want anything else more.”
They cannot move into their new home just yet though. The house has to be raised 8 feet off the ground so if flood waters ever do come back, they will be dry. When they do get to move in though, Verna already knows what she’s doing first.
“I done told him I’m the first one to get a hot shower,” she said. “You in my way, you better move it. Make way. I’m getting the first one. Then after I get a hot shower, I might take a bubble bath.”
Brignac says more donations are needed, specifically basic household items, bath towels, and even new shoes. If you would like to donate, you can contact Brignac through her Facebook page, Boots of Hope 413.