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Can-Do, Self-Help Spirit Keeps Fisher Family Going


Holly Beach home almost finished when Hurricane Rita hit.
A Holly Beach fisher family lost their home during Hurricane Rita, but they didn't lose their "can-do, self-help" spirit. They are now rebuilding with the help of friends and Southern Mutual Help Association.

Last fall Susan and Richard Meaux, a fisher family from Holly Beach, were almost finished building their first home, but like so many other residents of low-lying Cameron Parish, they had to leave it behind when they evacuated ahead of Hurricane Rita.

They fled to Shreveport and pulled their boat with their trotlines behind their truck. (Susan and Richard are line fishers who, prior to Hurricane Rita, sold their fish to people in Holly Beach.)

When they returned to Holly Beach after Rita, there was nothing left of their home or the homes of other residents of this coastal community except a few pilings—and a dead alligator on the Meauxs' property.

In January Helen Vinton, SMHA's Life Quality Director, met the family in Holly Beach and saw where their home had been. They told her they had relocated north of Sulphur where they were living in a FEMA trailer on a friend's property. Susan had gotten a part-time job at Rite-Aid, and Richard found odd jobs using the carpentry skills he had developed building his own home in Holly Beach.


Rita only left a few pilings and a dead alligator in the Meauxs' front yard.
Although they lost their home, Susan and Richard didn't lose their "can-do spirit." Their goal is to build another home where their FEMA trailer is located, and the friend agreed to give them a 99-year lease on the property at a very affordable price. (The Meauxs are still making a monthly mortgage payment on the home they were building in Holly Beach.)

Southern Mutual decided to give the Meauxs a small grant to help them recover their business and build their new home.

Richard and Susan are now building their second home themselves, with the help of friends who have electrical, plumbing and other specialized skills. Richard has salvaged some cypress and cedar lumber from trees toppled by Hurricane Rita and is using it to construct their home.

Richard has also started to take his boat out to do line fishing and hopes to bring in additional money on fresh fish, which they market in Hackberry.

Their "can-do, self-help" spirit keeps this family going.

 

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