Phillip LaRosa and his family saw the water coming toward their home in Norco last Friday so they started picking up everything off the floor – just in case.
By 2:15 a.m., it was in the house and they fled.
“We’d been watching it all night and I kept checking outside to see the water coming up, but it didn’t,” LaRosa said. “A couple of hours later, the water is only a couple of inches under my door step … and that’s when we knew we were in trouble.”
LaRosa said he rushed to check weather radar, saw the heavy band of storms overhead and started packing. Their Labrador retriever, Chloe, was dropped off with his brother nearby and they went to Metairie to stay with his sister.
LaRosa, his wife, Nina, and four children were among several people who fled flooding in Norco, as well as Montz, Hahnville and Destrehan.
Parish President Larry Cochran said these areas were overwhelmed when a slow moving cold front stalled over the area and dumped up to 9 inches of rain in about two hours. Parish departments, including public works, wastewater, waterworks and recreation, were dispatched to the area to ease the flooding and was substantially gone the next day.
Cochran put the affected structures at 38, including 19 homes.
Parish Tax Assessor Tab Troxler is advising residents with significant Dec. 28 flood damage to notify his office. A field representative will assess the damage and determine if the owner is entitled to a reduction or reimbursement on the 2018 tax bill. Call (985) 783-6281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with name, contact phone number and the property address.
This was the third flood for the LaRosa family since moving there in 2006, but they’d had at least 10 close calls in that time.
“My house sits two to three feet lower than the other side of the street,” LaRosa said. “We’re like sitting in a bowl.”
By last Friday, they nervously watched the weather again.
“This time was no different than any other time,” he said. “We saw the water coming up and hoped nothing was going to happen.”
LaRosa estimated two inches of water got into the entire house, resulting in an estimated $25,000 of damage including sheetrock, baseboards, cabinets, carpet and doors, which will be covered by flood insurance that cost him $1,800 a year and at a steadily rising premium.
They are among the recipients of a parish grant to have their home raised, but that could take a year to get done.
“If my house was six inches higher, I never would have flooded,” he said. “It’s frustrating because we just fixed up the house three years ago and during the summer we painted the outside, we got a new roof last year and replaced the AC. And then this happened.”
Even so, LaRosa said they like the neighborhood and are staying even though every time it rains “we got to sweat it out.” He, as well as his neighbors, say a second pump should be installed in the back of Norco.
“I was shocked this was happening. I’ve been here for over 10 years and it never flooded before.” – Mary Loup
In Destrehan, Mary Loup was still grateful for the parish’s alert call on her cell phone at 2:30 a.m. that awoke her to flooding in her area. She praised the parish for the call.
“It was in the house already,” Loup said. “When I stepped into the water, I said, ‘What is this!’ and it was all through the house. I immediately opened the front door and there was a lake facing me.”
She wanted to leave, but realized there was no way to tell where the ditches and road were in the flooding so Loup stayed in her apartment. She had 1-1/2 inches of water in her place, but she still had electricity so she kept track of the situation by watching the news.
“I was shocked this was happening,” she said. “I’ve been here for over 10 years and it never flooded before.”
In the deluge, all she could do was wait as the water rose and then quickly receded. A friend arrived by 8 a.m. with a Shopvac and fans to help dry the floor, and another soon followed that afternoon to help with the clean up. During that time, the American Red Cross arrived with cleaning supplies.
“I love St. Charles Parish because I’ve been here over 10 years and they’re pretty good about letting us know what’s going on,” said Loup, who considers herself fortunate. “It’s one of those things. The north gets snow storms, the west gets earthquakes and Louisiana deals with floods and storms. Thank God that we’re all okay.”