DENHAM SPRINGS – Nearly three years after the Great Flood of 2016 one Denham Springs family is finally seeing some movement on their house.
It's literally going up.
The Bentons have owned the home for five decades and had never even seen water in the yard until the disaster that devastated much of Livingston Parish left two feet of flood water in the house behind Denham Springs Elementary, said Jim Benton. When the Restore Louisiana program was announced, the family decided to utilize the offer to raise the home of the family matriarch.
“Apparently it was close to having to tear down, reaching whatever that threshold is,” Benton said. “But they decided they could [raise the house].”
The Restore Louisiana program is a federally funded and state administered process that helps homeowners raise their homes above the base flood elevation (BFE), or buys them out if the house is considered too damaged to repair.
“I guess it wasn’t a terrible process,” Benton commented, “it just took forever.”
The family got the approval to proceed in February and then began the permitting process through the City of Denham Springs which included a subdivision of the property.
“[Mayor Gerard Landry] and his crew did a good job helping us with all the permitting,” he said. “Once it finally started, it seems to be moving fast.”
Almir Nuti, Supervisor with Encore House Lifters, explained the elevation process which required placing two 50-foot long beams lengthwise under the house with cross beams supporting its weight. Hydraulic pumps controlled from a central board were used to slowly lift the house. Workers from Encore House Lifters stood around the perimeter to place concrete blocks, which are used to stabilize the home as it was moved in place.
Preparation work was underway on Friday and the house was fully lifted over the course of Monday, June 10.
“In three weeks, it’ll be sitting on the new foundation,” Benton explained. Then they’ll get started on the inside.”