POSTED: Sunday, June 2, 2013 - 6:00am
UPDATED: Sunday, June 2, 2013 - 6:04am
Maurepas, LA (NBC33) — Summer begins in three weeks, but a different season began Saturday: hurricane season.
The Gulf Coast is bracing for another active year of storms, and that is especially true in southern Livingston Parish, which has not fully recovered from Hurricane Isaac.
Philip Kliebert lives on Pecan Street. He lost his home and two cars during Isaac. His home was raised "about three and a half foot off the ground," he said. "Water got in it. We were without power for seven or eight days back here, so everything I had got moldy inside. I tried to clean it with different types of mold cleaners and Clorox, but that didn't work, so I just said, 'well, ain't nobody gonna help, I'm just gonna tear it down and get me a new place.'"
He spent nearly three months living in cramped, temporary housing.
"I was living in a 20-foot travel trailer; me, my wife, and my granddaughter," he said. "And every week, it got smaller and smaller."
He put a new home on his property and furnished it; as soon as electricity was restored, his family moved into the home, and the trailer remains parked in the same place they left it in last fall.
Eight months later, Kliebert is one of many people in Maurepas working to make his house feel like home.
"And they just finished most of the repairs on the inside, like the marriage line on this trailer, and everything else," he stated. "We've still got a few little things for them to come do, but it's, it's livable now."
He said a generator is the last thing he has left to buy to get ready for the next storm. But for people who live along the Amite River, Kliebert believes the most important thing to have cannot be bought at the store.
"People say they'll live without insurance. I don't, I can't see how you do it," he said. "I know what kind of blow I took.
"I'm ready for hurricane season. I got more insurance, I got flood insurance, but I doubt if (floodwaters would) get this high."
Aside from Hurricane Isaac, Maurepas also flooded in January after a round of severe weather. Residents say the water level is high again, and a handful of streets are partially flooded due to recent rain. But Kliebert raised his house by several feet, so he feels more confident. For him, moving away from Maurepas was not an option.
"That's life on the river," he noted. "if you want to enjoy yourself; we're retired, you know, and we just like it out here."
Kliebert said he received some money from his insurance and from FEMA after Hurricane Isaac, but not enough to cover the cost of rebuilding his home. He also experienced a setback that resulted in a broken leg for his wife.
"We had a little incident on Mother's Day: my deck fell in. She went down, I went down, my grandson, and my daughter-in-law," he said.
She has several more weeks of recovery time. Hopefully Maurepas does not need any recovery time of its own this hurricane season.
If you need advice to prepare for a hurricane, download the StormTracker33 Hurricane Guide .