Families glad to be home for holidays after floods

(WVUE) - It has been a busy year in Tangi Parish as they dig out and build new retention ponds after two massive rain falls of more than 20 inches last year and the damage it caused to hundreds of homes.

"We lost everything we had in the house there wasn't much we could save," said Cathy Hand of Robert.

It's been an especially rough year in the Autumn Trace subdivision near Robert. Last year, chest-deep trash lined the streets, but this year they are clear and folks are back home, though many moved out.

"About 50 percent, but they sold fast," said Hand.

After having to move into an apartment for seven months 20 miles away,Cathy Hand is thrilled to have her holiday lights glowing once more.

"Feels good. First holidays back, it feels good," said Hand.

In the Haven subdivision nearby, about 10 percent of the homes flooded last year, but it's come back strong.

"It was nerve-racking because I didn't have flood insurance," said homeowners president Vernon Gibbs.

While nearly 250 homeowners parish-wide are back home for the holidays. Dozens are still upside-down in their mortgages because they didn't have flood insurance and More than 50 remain housed in FEMA trailers like these.

"I don't believe that's everybody. Many are with family or in RVs or campers on property," said Tangipahoa Parish President Robbie Miller.

The parish has cleared out dozens of creeks, dug retention ponds and is involved in a major dredging project now taking place on the Tangipahoa River, which had a major silting problem at its mouth.

Cathy Hand prays that after being flooded twice last year, she'll never face it again, and she's hoping for funds to raise her home next year. Her lights have all been replaced this holiday, and she says they appear to be burning a bit brighter this year.

The victims of last year's flood had no post-Katrina type Road Home program to turn to. Tangipahoa Parish leaders are hopeful that more federal funds will be made available during 2018 to help homeowners recover.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.