One year later: Ascension Parish

One year later: Ascension Parish

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Last August, a father and daughter in Ascension Parish really took it on the chin.

A year later and a single moment aboard an excavator still stays with them.

Mike Richardson and his 16-year-old daughter Kolbi could hardly hold it together as they walked around their family property in Acy.

"I can still remember it like it was yesterday," Mike Richardson said.

Everything they had on Rogers A Rd. had been reduced to rubble. The only thing that remains is a small FEMA trailer that Mike and his mother now call home.

"It's just a harsh reminder every day of what you had," Mike Richardson said.

It was August 16, 2016. Ascension Parish, just north of Sorrento was flooded. Mike and Kolbi wanted to go check on their home. The only way there was by boat. Mike said, as the vessel got closer to his neighborhood, his stomach began to sink.

"I knew it was going to be bad but not how bad until I actually saw it. It was gut-wrenching. It made me sick," Mike Richardson said.

"It's very tough to see," Kolbi Richardson said.

Mike went into the back door of his mobile home to retrieve a few things, but there was not much he could salvage. Seeing his home taken by water was tough, but he said seeing his parents' home next door really hit him.

"They built this house for $8,000 cash. That was one of daddy's pride and joy things. That was all he ever talked about was, he built this house for $8,000 cash," Mike Richardson said.

As if that wasn't hard enough, Mike would soon learn that the house was a total loss. He would be the one to demolish it.

"All I could see was my dad's face standing behind me the whole time I was taking the house down. In the back of my mind I knew he would know it had to be done but it still hurt. In my 49 years of life I think that was the hardest thing I ever had to do was take this house down," Mike Richardson said.

Down with the bricks and mortar came the memories of Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday parties and just good old fashion family meals. For Kolbi, who splits her time between her divorced parents, it meant so much more.

"It's hard knowing I would be spending less time with him because I went week on week off with him and my mom. So, of course, I haven't seen him much at all," Kolbi Richardson said.

To rebuild in that same spot, the Richardsons have to elevate their new house nine feet off the ground. Mike said the plans are not set in stone yet. But, he said, he has never been so motivated to accomplish something in his life. His daughter, perhaps, has given him that push he needed to make it happen.

"You don't know what you have until it's gone, definitely," Kolbi Richardson said.

Mike said he is looking forward to making new memories with his mother and daughter. He said, at times, he thought he had convinced himself he could just walk away and start fresh somewhere else. But something kept pulling him back.

"You stand back and look at everything and it's something you just can't do. I can't leave this place. It was home, the easiest thing. It was home,"
Richardson said.

The Richardsons are not quite sure what home will look like. They hope to be in it by the middle of next year.

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