Flood Survivors Glean Lessons From Past Year

We asked our readers who survived the flood of August 2016 and its aftermath to tell us what they learned from the experience. Here’s what they said:
Rhonda Badeaux Conrad
That I put too much value on “things” and not enough on family!
Sherry Kelley-Mack
Don’t trust your insurance policy, agent, or provider!
Rae Lyons
Don’t have more than you need.  It’s only stuff!
Thomas St Amant II
Build high!
Harvey Landry
Or move to a higher elevation.
Brigitte Lewisa Reulet
Elevation changes with every new subdivision!
Laurence Delaroderie
Why buy flood insurance when FEMA gives away 60,000 dollars to people without it!
Kristina Murphy
Not me! My restaurant flooded and I had no flood insurance. Not one cent was given to me from FEMA!
Faye Lewis Hodges
‘Things’ can disappear forever really quickly. Keep only what you need or cherish. And buy a boat!
Kitty Courts
Listen to the weather reports.
Joe Broussard
There is no safe place in south Louisiana!
Hunter Gerald
That despite being physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted, you can still gut a house!
Keith Stark
A positive attitude can help you deal with the most disastrous catastrophes. We made it a priority to count our blessings rather than our losses.
Harvey Landry
My motto is, “No matter how bad a situation is, it can always be worse!”
Becky Conrad
Family means the most. Things are just that — things. When you lose them all and still have family, you are blessed!
Harvey Landry
I was amazed at the help we received from family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers!
Becky Conrad
And you find out that you keep too much junk!
John Jay Nauta
Glad I moved to Mississippi before the floods because it’s high and dry here.
Libby Thom Adams
Things can change in the blink of an eye. Be grateful for today and its blessings.
Robin Dantin
You can live with so much less than you think and the rest is just stuff. Next: The best and the worst of people come out during tragedy. One more: I know I will make people laugh at this one, FEMA is very inefficient!
Rebecca Atwell Barber
Don’t give to the Red Cross! Find a local church to support during a disaster.
Deborah Schulenberg Pratt
Headed to higher ground!
Harvey Landry
We moved to Zachary in December, gaining 51 feet of elevation. Elevation was my first criterion in our house hunt.
Mark Chambers
Study and know contractors!
Cindy Rome Estep
Put everything in plastic containers that seal well and float!
Harvey Landry
Put irreplaceables in the attic.
Kitty Thomas
I lost the contents of several plastic containers that were sealed and taped because they turned over and filled with water. The attic gets extremely hot. Keep that in mind when storing things up there.
Jim Buckley
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Brandi Payne
Trust God. Sometimes he is the only one who can change a situation. We had blessings coming from all directions! Live for God and give Him all the glory!
Keith Phelps
Government sucks! Don’t look to them for help anytime soon.
Emilie P. Dickerson
People say it was just stuff in our homes but it was 55 years of wonderful memories piled on our front yard in huge heaps. One was my mother’s desk when she was a tiny little girl. I cherished that desk because it was irreplaceable These are the treasures lost forever!
Louis Ruffino
That some banks are not worth a crap and have no heart!
Carrie Poston
To move on and not place value on material things.
Susan Davis
Mortgage companies are evil and should be punished!
Chuck Bush
Whenever possible, do it yourself! It’s faster, better and you can depend on it.
Mike Mannino
Better question is what was not learned by the cities affected. Places like Central have officials who are totally ignoring the fact that building in flood zones is a recipe for more and more of this.
Jessica LeBlanc Pursifull
We can live with less, and my family is most important!
Chalmers Wheat
It sure was expensive!
Hope Miller
Even if you’re NOT in a flood zone, get flood insurance!
Rebecca Spano
Even during our darkest hours we are still blessed in so many ways.
Tommy Straight
The cities don’t care about anything but money. They still haven’t cleaned the ditches or drains!
Kay Walock
I have asked God to show me what I need to learn from this natural disaster. Stuff does not matter! We have too much stuff. Don’t take things for granted.  Have patience. Wait and again wait. “This too shall pass away!” He sustained me.
Lea Hendrickson
Perspective. Even when our three bedroom, two bath house was gutted and had bare concrete floors, it was a mansion by 95 percent of the world’s standard.
Lorrie Aydell Fisk
My grandpa was super wise. He bought land on the highest land in Livingston Parish. My parents were one of the very few homes in French Settlement that got no water in their home.
Kathy Dixon Sanders
The affirmation of the goodness of the people in South Louisiana. The willingness to help others in crisis transcends all other feelings.
Alaine Dibenedetto
Get plenty of references from contractors and check to see if they actually have a contractor’s license!
Stuart Chambliss
Mortgage companies don’t
give a crap about their clients.
Harvey Landry
Heed the warnings! Don’t think, “Oh, that’s ridiculous. Let’s wait and see what happens.” When it happens, it’s too late! Take action according to the official warnings.
Sherry Westbrook Sanford
I didn’t flood and I feel so much for those that did. After reading all the comments all I can think is that I hope someone archives this list and saves it. Years from now your descendants will cherish reading their ancestors words on the great flood.
Sylvia Rose Garrett
To keep on keeping on and never, ever give up.
Gloria Newton
That disasters like this bring out what is in the heart of people — good and bad. I learned that I had entirely too much stuff and that I put too much value on it. Letting go has been so hard. Losing pictures was the worst for me and my grandma’s table and my piano.
Kristina Murphy
To be patient in the recovery process.  I learned that by Human Error on both Amite and Comite drainage systems, the people got the raw deal! The State of Louisiana owes the flood victims thousands of dollars for damages caused by the normal rain fall.
Robin Standard
Don’t use air mattresses to float in a flood.
Anne Sylvester Cramer
Don’t trust your contractor.
Doug Vicknair
Move to the hills of SW Mississippi… Don’t rebuild right away until the “fly by nights” are all gone!
Peggy Pollard Seeley
Kristie Schaefer
Let go.
Torri Simoneaux
I learned how strong and how much courage God has blessed me with.
Libby and Wayne Adams
I still trust you Lord!
Leonard Brown
That God is greater than our greatest disasters.
Kevin Hussey
Don’t use Allstate.
Todd McInnis
Make sure all the neighbors are accounted for. Know which are elderly or handicapped. When AT&T lost coverage and land lines failed, we were the only hope some neighbors had. If you are young and strong, be ready to act fast and decisively.
Louise Dupre Logan
We have great neighbors! Although we did not flood, my husband had a medical emergency and they drove us to the hospital and then came back to get us at midnight when the hospital would not admit him. True lifesavers!
Ted McCulley
We accumulate too much stuff we don’t really need, and we make trivial things way too important.
Vanessa L Henderson
Material things can be replaced. Be thankful that you still have life, family, and friends!
Karen Moore
1) Change is so hard on the elderly and mentally and physically handicapped. 2) It’s never too late to rebuild a relationship with family. 3) Saving a high school year book, a Crucifix, or statues of saints can make life seem more whole when all other material things are lost.
Cj Johnson
Life goes on. Never too old to learn new lessons. Wet sheetrock and insulation are two things I never want to see again in this lifetime!
Michelle Hoffman
And the smell! I never want to smell that smell that lingered everywhere so long after the flood.
Jan Aillet
FEMA does NOT help people who are insured!
Doug Vicknair
That is correct. You have to wait for the insurance to pay out.
Rita Shelton Cannon
Yes, they will help once you have settled with your insurance if you did not have contents or there are other extenuating circumstances
Frank Beckendorf
The money that was supposed to be spent to prevent floods was not spent that way!
Cindy Denham
That I am very thankful to have a home in a no flood zone, and still we were smart enough to have flood insurance
Rita Shelton Cannon
Seriously, the Corps of Engineers should be held accountable for the people they listed as living in a no flood zone who did not buy flood insurance
Doug Vicknair
There is no such thing as a no flood zone. It only means the chance of flooding is so low that lenders do not require you to purchase insurance. Knowing what you know now, what would you do!
Melissa Stephenson
We will make it through trouble times. Family, old friends, new friends, and the Lord will be with me. Amen
Sandy Kelly
People lay aside their differences when there are needs to meet.
Elizabeth Ann Williams Terrio
I learned that I am a lot stronger mentally and emotionally than I ever thought I could be. Also, that my husband is the most incredibly talented person, not in the arts, but in his ability to manage all the work and repairs, either contracted or by himself, so that our home is almost back to normal, all the while keeping me happy and in control. Additionally, we were blessed with help from New Orleans, local, and as far away as Houston. Thank goodness, because I wasn’t very much help then. The shock of it at the beginning was frightening! But we are back in our home, safe, sound, secure, and starting to enjoy retirement. Thank God and all his glories for seeing us through!
George Seguin Jr.
Get paperwork (policies and so on) out first, after the family! Also, never live in South Louisiana without flood insurance — flood zone or not. Thank God we had some!
Carla Constanza
I got lucky with Katrina! I had the presence of mind to grab my insurance and mortgage papers on residence and rental houses! This even though I figured it was a waste of time “cause we’d be coming right back!”  Ha!
Rita Jurey
Don’t live on the river!
George Seguin Jr.
In South Louisiana you don’t have to live on a river. I think the flood made that very clear.
Carla Constanza
The same goes for a lake. I learned that in 2005!
Michelle Hoffman
You sure do learn a lot about the people in your life and community. True friends. Fighters. Survivors. Takers. Runners. Givers. Glass half full or empty? If there is another crisis, or even not, I know who I want to surround myself with!
George Seguin Jr.
Same here!
Carla Constanza
Great point!
Steve Vise
Don’t believe anyone who says, “Don’t worry, it’s never flooded HERE before!”
Carla Constanza
Especially if the durn house is less than five years old!
Connie Braud Heroman
One can count on family, friends and wonderful help you never knew existed from strangers!
Karla Young
I can adapt very well. Left with a pair of baby shoes and my husbands ashes. Survivors. That’s what we seem to do well.
Brenda Gail Foreman Carl
I learned that I was really holding onto way too much stuff. The flood helped me down-size quickly. My goal is to keep it that way!
Carla Constanza
True, but I didn’t learn the lesson NOT to upsize again!
Ruth Stevens
That when all seems too much just turn around and you’ll see someone holding out a hand to support you while you get your footing and can stand on your own again.
Debbie Gautreau Traylor
That FEMA, insurance and the government don’t really care.
Terri Hoover Dunham
That I still have what is most important — my family. But it does hurt like hell losing so much, especially sentimental things.
Jamie Achee
So true, but they are still just things and we are not getting out of this world with a thing!
Deborah Lumpkin Wall
Only people matter, things don’t.
Susie Labry
I love to volunteer and got closer to my beloved Church. God really provides. I really love giving. I learned it is not what we like to do, but it is the cause and who we do it for and with. Enjoyed community living with others way much better than by myself cooped alone in mansions. Enjoyed and got to experience God’s love in action. And found great respect and honor for our Cajun Navy who can do it way far better than dead governments.
Melody McCrary
God can make something beautiful out of something awful.
Debbie Gaspard
I learned that those of us who didn’t flood should not let guilt from not flooding keep us from helping people who lost everything! I heard a number of people say how guilty they felt. There were opportunities to serve others everywhere. If financial assistance is a hardship, flood victims were grateful for hugs, words of encouragement, prayers, home cooked meals brought to their door, gift certificates to Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target and Wal-Mart. There were numerous opportunities to help sort and organize donations for those who were in need. I even went through my home to see what I had that was new and unused and it did not take long to find folks who needed the items! Churches were working to prepare meals for the multitudes of displaced residents. We all can give something, even if it’s our time. It makes such a difference for those who are overwhelmed
and in total shock and despair.
Page Dew
That living on my mountain is a good thing
Lea Hendrickson
When a Coast Guard helicopter circles around your subdivision, it might be a bad day!
Wayne Cambre
Don’t trust a contractor or so-called contractor that you think you know.
Janice Shelton Howell
FEMA is a disgrace! Arrest the contractors have that stolen money from precious families!  So sad!
Ken Weimer
I learned who I can count on when the chips are down. After all I had a stroke after the flood. GOD had been taking care of me for a long time and this experience made my faith in HIM stronger. I found a house and 7 acres in northern Arkansas. I hope I never have to live in Louisiana again.
Margo Murphy
In times of tragic loss, Louisiana folks are resilient, help each other, and dig in to bounce back stronger than before.  Also, dealing with FEMA is challenging! Lastly, have flood insurance even when told you don’t need it!
Madonna Pendarvis
This really isn’t a lesson I learned, but what I saw happening during the flood. Neighbors came together to save neighbors. A community embraced each other during the roughest times. Here we are a year later and we’re fighting over barbecue and school jackets. What happened to the human compassion and care of our fellow neighbors?
Brandi Payne
I’ve learned that we can make it through anything, God will always show up, and relationships are special. Also, I still love my community. There are many great people in our City of Central.
Robert Burnette
We learned that no matter how good of a city you live in, there is someone always out to screw you!
Sara Snyder Ponthier
The two greatest commandments given to us by Jesus were on display for God’s glory that day. We loved God and placed our trust and hope in Him. We loved each other with compassion and grace. The loss is still fresh today for so many but what matters most still remains!
Robbie Welborn
I’ve learned that people can put differences aside and come together. It’s just sad it takes a flood, hurricane, tornado or 9-11 to get people to do that. It should be all the time.
Lisa Brecheen Payne
Life is precious. Possessions can be replaced, human life can’t!
Lauren Patin
I learned that there is no better community to live in than the City of Central. We are #unBRoken
Donna Bozeman Guidry
Got my priorities in line. People first, then things. My daughter will tell you it “Mom gets crazy when she is scared!”
Martin Roberts
Buy a taller truck. Got it!

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!