Community pools money to help couple with storm repairs

“We need to gut the house and start over; that’s how bad it is,” their youngest daughter says

Community pools money to help couple with storm repairs
Jennifer Cook (left to right), Barbara Cook, Ernest Cook and Jarrell Cook in the living room. The Cooks family home is suffering major damage from Hurricane Laura. (Source: Destinee Patterson)

BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) — An ArkLaTex community is working toward raising $8,000 to help a couple pay for tens of thousands of dollars worth of repairs left after Hurricane Laura.

“I’m 90 and she’s 82 [years old], so that kind of money isn’t really in the budget,” Ernest Cook said.

His wife, Barbara Cook, worked at Ralph & Kacoo’s in Bossier City for nearly 26 years. She only stopped when the COVID-19 pandemic made it unsafe for her to continue working.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my job. And if I had the chance, I’d probably go back; but I’m too old,” she laughed.

At the end of August, Hurricane Laura blew through the ArkLaTex and left the couple with roof and patio damage. Rain spilled through the cracks in the ceiling.

“I have friends in construction, and they say they would be scared to sit under [the roof] right now,” the Cooks' youngest son, Jarrell, said.

Jennifer Cook, their youngest daughter, said she suspects the repairs will likely cost about $20,000. “We need to gut the house and start over; that’s how bad it is.”

Some of the repairs, such as foundation issues, already were plaguing the house. The damages from the hurricane are adding to the financial strain.

“I’m just so thankful we don’t have to move out,” Barbara Cook said. “I worried about it.”

This GoFundMe, organized by Benton resident Heather Stewart, raised more than $4,000 in five days.

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