‘Weather-resistant home’ said to be first in Lake Charles

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:15 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Two and half years after Hurricane Laura’s historic winds, many in Southwest Louisiana are still rebuilding. One of the homes under construction is said to be the first of its kind in Lake Charles - a “weather-resistant home.”

It is made from autoclave aerated concrete that can withstand 170-mile-per-hour winds. The project started a month ago and is expected to be completed by June of this year.

Like many, Latoya Francois saw her home badly damaged in Hurricane Laura.

“It was very hard because so many people were doing a lot of work, and I couldn’t find someone to commit to rebuilding my home,” Francios said.

While Francois waited, she prayed. During a 21-day session of fasting and prayer, she asked to find someone reliable and trustworthy to rebuild her home.

“On the 21st day, which was the last day of the fasting and praying, while on my route at work, Mr. Darren stopped and asked me a question about a package,” she said.

Darren Still is the CEO of Still Signature Homes in Westlake. When Francois, who drives for FedEx, passed his building, he waved her down to ask what to do with a package that wasn’t his.

“We started talking, she was telling me her story a little bit, that she had lost her home in Lake Charles, this property exactly, nothing is left but the slab. And she said she had been praying 20 days for a builder, and I said well I’m a builder, maybe I’m your builder. I had an idea, I said I want to bring this product here, are you open to the idea.”

Francois calls meeting Still fate. Now he’s overseeing the rebuild of her home, which he says is the first of its kind in our area - a “weather-resistant home” made out of autoclave aerated concrete.

“Everything we’re putting in this home is essentially water-resistant, meaning water can come in, it can sit there for four hours. Open up your front door, let the water out, dry out your home and you’re back in your home,” Still said.

He said there’s no drywall, studs or insulation, preventing the home from getting wet and growing mold. Still also touts it can withstand 170-mile-per-hour winds.

“We’re also using aluminum cabinets, we’re using PVC doors, PVC jambs and casing. We’re using DensGlass, which is an exterior commercial board that resists water,” Still said.

While she hopes home never gets tested again by mother nature, Francois is grateful for Still’s innovative help.