DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Less than two years after it opened, Juban Crossing was the place to be, especially since it truly was the only main shopping center in Livingston Parish, but the flooding definitely left its mark on the center.
Juban Crossing took on 48 to 51 inches of water in a matter of 30 hours, according to Juban Crossing developer Steven Keller.
"I just could not believe the devastation that I saw," Keller said. "I've never experienced anything like this in my past."
Keller said between all the stores and restaurants, the structural damage is $15 million and the content is another $15 million.
Juban started opening its stores in December 2014 and has been a crucial part of Livingston Parish ever since.
"Any day of the week you came by, there were shoppers all over the mall. The Movie Tavern had just opened recently before the flooding and it was already successful," said Parish President Layton Ricks.
Ricks said Juban Crossing is a big part of their tax revenue, bringing in $60,000 monthly and more than $700,000 a year. Add Juban to many other businesses in Livingston Parish that are shut down and Ricks said September is going to be a tough month.
"We had roughly 1,800 businesses hit with this flood, roughly 60 percent across the parish so not only this revenue but you're talking $1 million to $1.5 million a month in revenue that we've lost just in September along with all the expenses of trying to get through the storm itself," Ricks said.
However, Keller said every store at Juban wants to reopen. In fact, Ross's Dress for Less plans to open September 30. Next door to it, the Shoe Carnival only needs a ceiling and floor before they can reopen as well.
"We are hoping to get the majority of stores opened by Thanksgiving with a few trickling into December," Keller said.
Some places will have to take a bit longer to get back to business, such as Movie Tavern, since they have to order hundreds of new theater seats.
Keller said it will take at least $15 million to rebuild the entire center, but said it's worth it and they owe it to Livingston Parish.