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To stay or not to stay: Laplace residents gut homes and contemplate to rebuild post Ida

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT
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LAPLACE, La. (WVUE) -The struggle for so many here in Laplace is just beginning.

Mounds of debris are covering lawns where people are gutting and rebuilding. Debris pickup is underway but the task is massive.

Hurricane Ida’s storm surge pushed water into Laplace. GoPro video taken by Mark Sudduth gives you a look at the area around Frenier Landing in Laplace as Ida came through. The aftermath is flooded homes and wind damage throughout Laplace.

Dowie Gendron, like so many of his neighbors, is dealing with the loss of so much.

The River Forest subdivision flooded during Hurricane Isaac and now again with Ida. He says it’s overwhelming to think about rebuilding a second time.

Just about a month before Ida, the Army Corps broke ground on a 75 million dollar levee system that will protect about 60,000 residents. It’s something desperately needed here in St. John.

The Corps, though, says the project is challenging since it’s being built in open water, and likely won’t be complete until 2024, Gendron says he worries he’ll flood again before it’s complete.

“I’m sure I’ll be here for a lot more days and I’m sure I’ll have a lot more decisions to make because my heart is here, but I don’t know if I will rebuild. I can’t put all the money back in my home and then this happens again after doing it twice in nine years. I don’t know what it’s going to come to and I’ll make that decision. I have to prevent further damage and that’s what I’m doing at the moment until I can make that decision,” says Dowie Gendron.

The people of Laplace, though, are resilient and many say they’re working to rebuild as they wait for levee protection and decide whether to stay.

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