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Real Flood Stories: Her successful recovery from levee failure

We actually looked in this neighborhood for two years before finding this house. We realized that we were very close to the levee; as a matter of fact, it's right across the street. But typically houses that are close to the levee are higher than the rest of the city, so we felt like we were on a ridge, and that we would not have any problems with water-- even if water did top the levee.

And then Katrina came... The levees breached and our house was flooded. I wasn't sure how much water had gotten into the house, but whether it's two feet or ten feet, you still have damage, you still have to rip the cabinets out, so I knew that we were facing a lot of hard work, and I knew that we would be able to rebuild the house.

What I found in this room when I came back for the first time was it was dark and smelly and moldy. Basically, almost everything from the cabinets to the built-ins are the same as it was before.

There is peace of mind with having flood insurance. The premium is so low when you think about the benefit, if you ever need it, and I tell ya, we would not have been able to regain our life without the flood-insurance money to help us rebuild this house.

There was a very big difference between those who had flood insurance and those who had not. My neighbor across the street did not have insurance. She still is not back.

--We've got a beautiful two-story brick home where people do live -- right next door to a house that is barely even gutted.

--These people have not been seen or heard from in a number of years. As you can see, their pool is still black; we've got skeeter fish in it to control the mosquitoes. Doors are wide open, windows are wide open -- it's just sitting here.

There are many residents who have rebuilt their homes who are living next door to blighted houses.

If I could talk to people one on one, who could hear my voice: Know how very important it is to have flood insurance. It's just something that I am so grateful to have had in my time of need.

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