Christmas in the camper: Residents still recovering from Hurricane Ida four months later

For many residents in St. John the Baptist Parish, the holiday season looks a little different.
Christmas after Ida for the River Parishes
Christmas after Ida for the River Parishes
Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 8:08 PM CST
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LAPLACE, LA (WVUE) - The tree is decorated and the stockings are hung with care. This year, the Bahr family is spending Christmas in their camper in the backyard.

“Six of us in here, so it’s a little hectic,” said LaPlace resident Courtney Bahr. “But we’re doing what we can.”

Hurricane Ida brought nearly three feet of water into their home, making it unlivable.

“Everything’s gutted out four feet down. All new doors, all new molding, all new sheetrock, floors, the whole nine,” said Bret Bahr.

They’re still in the recovery process and still waiting for a new roof too. But the family is staying positive.

“[We’re] making the best out of it,” said Bret. “[We] have a little Christmas tree outside and things like that.”

And they’re not alone. Many of their neighbors are in similar situations.

In four months, things have improved, but work still needs to be done. Piles of debris still line streets in areas that were hit the hardest.

Michele and Raymond Watson live next door. Like the Bahrs, they too are living in a trailer.

“We’re still in the process of rebuilding our home,” said Michele. “So we’re back and forth, you know, in the home... in the trailer. In the home... in the trailer.”

Their home also had three feet of water inside. Raymond said he’s doing most of the repair work himself.

“Well we still got a lot of work to do but we’re coming along pretty good,” he said.

Slowly but surely progress is being made, but not without some loss.

“The neighborhood doesn’t look the same, and of course, we didn’t expect it to look the same,” said Michele. “We do have where a lot of people, well some of the people, decided they’re not coming back, you know. We’re seeing for sale signs in the neighborhood. So that’s unfortunate.”

It’s a season of change with more to come in the new year.

“It’s bright because we’ll have a new house next year,” said Bret. “At least I can say one bright thing is gonna come from next year.”

The final pass for debris pickup in St. John Parish will begin January 10, 2022.