'Come Home for Christmas' helping nearly 100 families return to flooded homes

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "Come Home for Christmas," it's a program run 100% by people, not the government, trying to get as many people back in their once-flooded home.

Mrs. Ouida Easley, 91, has lived in her Baton Rouge home for the past 58 years.

"I raised my children there and my husband died of cancer. He and I lived there to raise the children," said Mrs. Easley.

That is until the flood last year. Four inches of water and a contractor who left mid-job left her in a bind.

"I've been waiting for a long time," said Mrs. Easley.

Then her daughter found "Come Home for Christmas" put on by United Cajun Navy and Family First Recovery Group. More than 100 people are signed up and at least of dozen will be home just in time for Christmas.

Wanda Cannon and Brandi Brignac are two of the volunteers.

"Everything, everything in this house had to be redone, the trim, baseboards, molding, caulking," said Cannon and Brignac.

Their goal is to fulfill Mrs. Easley's only wish.

"...To get in the house before I die," said Mrs. Easley.

Several volunteers, who are flood victims themselves are helping including Congressman Garrett Graves.

"I have PTSD from Vietnam and it's giving back to people and it helps with my PTSD," said David Flickinger.

"They've been coming to us, Cajun Navy has been coming to us with the individual homes and the problems they're running into the regulatory problems and other things, so we're trying to work with them and problem solve," said Congressman Graves.

Meanwhile, inside the home, firefighters inspected to make sure Mrs. Easley is safe to return home.

"We came and installed some smoke detectors in this house that flooded and repaired and rebuilt," said firefighter Gary Patterson.

Finally, Mrs. Easley made her way towards her home, anxious, even walking as fast as she could. Once inside, she was in awe going from room to room as happy as she could be.

"It means everything, everything. I feel like I'm back home now. I couldn't, I can't express it how I feel," said Mrs. Easley.

On top of the Christmas presents, the real gift Mrs. Easley received was all the labor and material donated and at no cost to her to get her home just in time for Christmas.

"I feel like an angel. I feel like I can fly, so many people have helped me and I feel like an angel," said Mrs. Easley.

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