Terry and Vicki Caillouet have lived on North Beauregard Lane in Destrehan for 37 years. On May 14 their home flooded for the second time since they have been living there. The first was the May flood of 1995.
“It was supposed to rain that night,” Vicki said, “but we never dreamed we would flood again.”
Nine inches of water filled their home and was slow in making an exit earlier this month, which means Vicki is planning how she will re-design the home when the contractor starts work this week.
“I think we’re going to take one wall out, but nothing major,” she said. “We have stained woodwork and I’m thinking about doing white … I’ve never had white before … I’m thinking … but who knows what tomorrow will bring.”
No matter what walls stay or go or what color the trim is, Vicki said she told her contractor one thing is certain – he has to be done by the beginning of October.
“I told him ‘you have to be finished and out of here,’” she said. “I have to host Thanksgiving.”
The Caillouet’s home is the holiday gathering place for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special events all year. They raised their four children in the home, and these days their nine grandchildren fill the home during gatherings.
Vicki said the first time they flooded Terry did a lot of the work himself, but this time the couple decided to go with a contractor.
“We were 25 years younger then,” she said laughing.
The couple is not alone in their plight. St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell declared a State of Emergency following the rain event, in which the National Weather Service reported 8 to 12 inches of rain fell within 90 minutes and flooded nearly 500 homes.
The water line outside of the house indicates that 16 inches of water surrounded the home.
“We had more water last time we flooded, but more damage this time,” Vicki said. “The water this time I think was dirtier … it left behind lots of leaves, mud and dirt.”
Adding to the damage was the fact that the flood water sat in the home for longer this time.
“It came in pretty quick, but it took a long time for it to go out,” she said. “We kept going to the front door and the back door and kept saying, ‘it’s coming … it’s coming.’”
The only item Vicki is worried about losing from the flood is her piano.
“I have a piano that I’ve been having since I was 13 years old and it made it through the first (flood), but this water stayed so long,” she said. “I’ll have to send it out, because when they were trying to move it out a couple of the keys didn’t play so I don’t know what it’ll take to refurbish it … it’s something I’ve had for a long time.”
Because of the pandemic, Vicki said her flood insurance company asked if the couple would be willing to handle the insurance claim completely online.
“We’re doing everything over the internet,” she said. “I’m finding it now getting tedious … a lot of back and forth through email … I think it would have been easier if I would have had an adjuster.”
For now, Vicki said she is compiling lists of everything they lost and taking it all day by day.
“We say the Rosary and that has really brought us close together and willing to accept whatever comes to us,” Vicki said of her and Terry. “Our faith is getting us through … He’s going to help us … we had the pandemic and now the flood, but He’s taking care of us … it could be a lot worse.”