Home Again

by Dominick Cross

IND video: Nearly five months after being forced from their flooded home, a Lafayette couple finally sleep in their own bed.

Photo by Robin May

Most people are aware of the breathtaking amount of damage the mid-August floods did in south Louisiana. Consecutive days of rain filled many homes and businesses to their ceilings; some got more, others less. So far, $438 million in federal flood money is going to 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.

But it doesn’t take tsunami-like water to send one to higher, or at least drier ground. Just south of Lafayette proper, one inch of water necessitated $175,000 in insurance money to a homeowner in a 500-year flood zone. The house took the big hit; personal property, not so much. Water seriously damaged floors, carpet, baseboards and four feet of wall in the spacious four-bedroom home, as well as lawn equipment in the garage.

Stafford and Tricia Barnett and their two young children spent five months in a 500-square foot, one bedroom guest house in his parents’ backyard just a few miles away. Cramped quarters, yes, but otherwise another nugget of luck in a run of good fortune that came their way when the sky fell and filled the streets. It was things like the flood insurance that almost didn’t happen; neighbors and strangers eager to help; minimal damage to belongings, and, of course intact, albeit, inconvenienced lives.

But life for the Barnetts took a turn to normalcy a week into the new year when the young family returned to their dream home. (To view a photo gallery of the Barnetts' return, click here.)