- Posted October 16, 2012 by
Team iReport featured this story
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Hurricane season 2012
Living on the Wrong Side of the Wall
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
On May 26, 2011 Reporter CHRIS GRANGER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE reported the following on nola.com: "Just one small section of a long metal and cement wall, crewmen work on top of a giant metal door over the Caernarvon Canal that will help protect St. Bernard Parish from hurricanes and storm surge." (PJ: he was referencing a photo of the wall being built.) "The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Team New Orleans, achieved a major risk reduction milestone in St. Bernard Parish with a concrete pour at the final section of floodwall along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet between Bayou Dupre and Highway 46. The approximately 7.5-mile stretch of floodwall is now able to defend against a storm surge event that has a one percent chance of occurring in any given year, or a 100-year storm surge event. The media was given a tour on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 near Caernarvon."
The flood wall at Caernavon stops at Braithwaite, LA. Braithwaite had massive, extensive flooding after Hurricane Isaac. One could say that the 2500 residents, many of whom are life long residents, now live on the wrong side of the wall. They now reside outside of federal levee protection and most fear that they will flood again.
For life long residents like Kenneth and Aloma Savastano there is much uncertainty about what their next steps should be. They did not flood for Katrina however after Hurricane Isaac they had 12 feet of water.
I did several iReports on the Savastano's after Hurricane Isaac. I returned to Braithwaite this past weekend. Their home has now been gutted. 2 x 4s and concrete slab are all that remain on the interior of the first floor. On the day of my visit debris was still being removed from their property. The supervisor overseeing the debris removal on the property told me that the day before they removed 29 dump truck loads of marsh grass and debris from the Savastano's property. The Savastano's have a citrus farm with 1000 citrus trees.
On the day of my visit, Aloma Savastano had the chore of going thru the very lengthy document from the insurance adjuster's assessment of their home. She went room by room making sure that every structural component on their home was accounted for. Structural components are: dry wall square footage, floor, sub-floor, light switches, light fixtures, power outlets, windows, trim, doors, doorknobs, etc.
We finished the day in Braithwaite at 5:10pm. We needed to be on the ferry leaving at 5:30pm. On the way to the ferry we decided to drive just a bit farther so that I could take a photo of Aloma Savastano in front of "the wall". We made it back to the ferry just in time, pulling onto the ferry just as the ferry horn blew signaling that it would be departing. Time to go get showered and head to the Savastano's daughter's home. You see we had a birthday to celebrate. Earlier in the week Aloma turned 70 years old. For just a little while that evening, as family and friends celebrated everything seemed normal again.
Photos taken by Patti Johnston, October 13, 2012.
I grew up in Braithwaite, LA. Kenneth and Aloma Savastano are the parents of my best friend since childhood.