13 November 2005

Photo du Jour: The FEMA Fortress

Flooding is no stranger to New Orleans. KTMB has obviously redefined what catastrophic flooding is, but New Orleans has quite a history of some doosies. Take the house located near Napoleon and South Claiborne pictured above for instance. Sure is raised up high, isn't it? On the evening of 9 May 1995, nearly 20 inches of rain drenched portions of the city. Naturally, the pumps and the canals could not handle this volume of water and extensive flooding occured in certain areas including this house location. The "May 9th Flood" remains FEMA's most paid out flood event (prior to KTMB) in the history of the country as over 31,000 properties recieved flood insurance monies to cover flood-related damage. Because the house flooded a few times before May 1995 it was catagorized as a "repetivtive loss" property and qualified the home for participation in an optional FEMA house-raising program. The owners decided to participate in the program, and the picture above shows the result of an insanely raised house. The good news: the 7+ feet of floodwater did not penetrate the main portion of the house, but instead only the concrete block unfinished basesment/garage. The bad news: the absolute rigamorole the owners had to endure at both the federal and local government levels for over ten years (the house was three weeks shy of being completely finished when KTMB showed up) to get the job done. Oh, and the the 30k FEMA provided to raise the house--not even close. More bad news: all of the owner's belongings were not yet moved into their mongo raised house, but instead were in a rental basement apartment across the street. As bad as all of this sounds, the owners are amazingly among the most die-hard stick it out New Orleanians I have run into post-KTMB.


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