May 31, 2011 12:18 AM by Jim Hummel

Residents Return from Costly Evacuation

For the Breaux family in Butte La Rose, Memorial Day was more like move-in day.  When the mandatory evacuation went into effect for their area last week, the Breaux's packed up almost everything in their home because their flood insurance only covers the structure, not the contents of their house. 

"It's been rough, not knowing what the next day would bring," said Linda Breaux, who says she felt a sense of relief when she pulled up to her flood-free home, Monday.  

For Breaux and so many others, the process of evacuating was not only nerve-racking, but expensive.  Since they removed all their possessions from their home, the Breaux family estimates they spent about $1,600 on storage space, not knowing how long the evacuations would last.  It's money they would like to see reimbursed, but that could be a while. 

Right now FEMA aid is only available for "Public Assistance," which covers emergency preparations made by municipalities in anticipation of the rising waters.  "Individual Assistance," which would cover expenses incurred for residents like the Breaux family, has not been designated for this disaster, at least not yet.

St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier said Monday night he is petitioning for that assistance to become available for residents of the parish who evacuated their homes ahead of rising waters, that in some cases never came.  Despite that, and the expenses that some incurred during the ordeal, Cormier says issuing the mandatory evacuation was the right decision.  

"You just never know, it's about life and saving lives," said Cormier.  "Of course it's not over yet, but it looks as if we're going to get through this without a human life lost and that was the goal from the very beginning."


Jim Hummel


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