Skip to comments.A Katrina survivors story: How I didnít wait for the government to bail me out
Posted on 04/01/2006 3:26:30 PM PST by GeorgiaDawg32
August 27, 2006, Capt. Larry Hooper packed his house and head out of the little town of Empire, Louisiana, located 60 miles south of New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi River. He decided to leave on the 27th to avoid the rush of traffic on the 28th. Left behind were 3 boats, 2 trucks, all fishing equipment, in effect, everything he owned.
Taken with him were 3 tank tops, 3 pairs of shorts, 2 cats and his car. Fully expecting to return to Empire 2 days later, the wrath of the storm completely wiped Empire off the face of the Earth. Gone were the hardware store, post office, grocery store..matter of fact, all the buildings were wiped out. The only thing left standing was 1 house, semi-protected by the levee. For all intent and purposes, this house was destroyed.
Capt. Hoop stayed with his brother-in-law in Denham Springs, La. To ride out the storm. On September 15, Hoop finally returned to Empire. It took 17 days because of downed trees, blocked roads, water, debris, water and more water. Sensing that it was going to be quite a while before hed actually get through, he returned to the Denham Springs KOA Kampground and moved into a motorhome, now knowing it was going to be months before he could actually return.
Hurricane Rita arrived and more destruction occurred. This time, Hoop didnt return to Empire for another week and was able at this time to go on his property to see what wasnt left. You can see by the pictures below his house beforehand, and afterwords. Note these pictures were taken from the same angle and same distance from the original home. He returned to Denham Springs with exactly 6 milk cartons of recoverable goods, mostly knickknacks, but many of these had to be thrown out because of damage, from his home. His charter boat was found ¾ of a mile away from the house. It was ripped off the trailer which was ripped off his F350 dually and went up over the trees, 40 feet in height. It was only saved from going into the Gulf by a levee, 18 feet high. It took 3 months to actually find the boat. It was finally repaired last week and is now back in Empire.
Arriving back in Denham Springs, after the trip, the wait started. His kids bought them the motorhome so, as his kids said, Dad, you always kept a roof over our heads, now its our turn to keep a roof over yours.
He tried to work with FEMA who provided some initial funds and sundries, but werent able to provide him with a trailer because there was no electric, sewer or running water. FEMA finally provided him a trailer, on March 4, 2006, and he had to wait for the keys for 5 days. This past Thursday, March 29, electricity was finally connected, although the sewer at this point is questionable. There is no timeframe for natural gas to be connected.
Capt. Hoop took matters into his own hands, and although his fishing charter business was ruined, he did manage to save just a few rods and reels, (very expensive ones folks, Ive seen them). He found several of these rods and reels scattered throughout the neighborhood over a period of weeks.
Not waiting for government assistance, Hoop took it upon himself to clear his land, repair his boat, take care of matters to move on with his life, and buy a new home. Now, the new home he purchased comes on wheels, but its a mansion weighing 125,000 lbs and wind rated to 110 mph. This home has been moved to Empire and is now set up and ready to go. He says hes the first one back in that area. There are no stores, no neighborhood, a makeshift grocery store is 12 miles away in a trailer, mail is 40 miles away (and he has to make the run. There is no mail delivery yet). Gasoline is available, but its 9 miles away and you have two choices, 87 octane or diesel.
His land right now is home to wild boars, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes and other assorted critters, but like Hoop says, this is home.
He also must rebuild his fishing business from scratch. It provides offshore tuna fishing charters. Here is a man who rebuilt on his own without for government handouts. Anyone who would be interested in helping him get back on his feet, and who likes fishing, is welcome to give Capt. Hoop a call at 504-247-8459.
Hoop is one of the best there is. He says, Dont listen to the news media and how bad things are in New Orleans. There are other areas that are completely devastated that are not getting any attention whatsoever. All the way from Cameron to Alabama is destroyed, yet New Orleans gets the media attention.
Hoop anticipates moving back to Empire for good in another month or two, meaning he will been an evacuee for 8-9 months. God Bless this guy: hes been through hell and has made it back and never, ever, ever once sat on his a*s complaining about The government not bailing him out.
No thanks for the $60,000 FEMA trailor?
"No thanks for the $60,000 FEMA trailor?"
"Now, the new home he purchased comes on wheels, but its a mansion weighing 125,000 lbs and wind rated to 110 mph"
I don't know. It sounds like he ended up buying his own motorhome.
he bought his own home. The FEMA trailer is going to be removed.
He still got it and used it, as needed. You are welcome. much maligned US taxpayer.