CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - In August of 2016, Mike and Carolyn Braud watched in disbelief as water inched towards their Central home where they had lived for more than 30 years. When water reached the stoop of their front door, the retired couple grabbed what they could and left, driving on the sidewalks to get out of their neighborhood.
They returned a few days later to find that more than half a foot of water had invaded their home, leaving chaos behind.
"A lot of mess. Water everywhere, obviously, and things that had been turned over, things in the yard that didn't belong to us," said Carolyn.
Immediately, the couple began cleaning with help from friends and family. They stayed in the house through the whole process of mucking, tearing out and replacing drywall and floors, along with Carolyn's son and his family, whose home took on more than four feet of water.
"We just stayed and did what we could to help other people," said Carolyn. "We've been blessed, we've been very blessed."
After five months of work, their house began to look like the home they once knew. "It was wonderful, but then you have to go out and buy furniture and flooring and rugs," said Mike.
The couple then realized their roof also needed replacing. At more than 15 years old, they said it had reached its lifespan and the wear and tear was obvious. That would be one more expense for the retired couple to figure out, until Mike spotted a contest on WAFB called "Santa Did My Roof."
Local roofing company, Garcia Roofing, decided to give away a free roof to one lucky family, and partnered with WAFB 9News to get the word out. Mike entered the contest online, and about a week before Christmas, they got a phone call. They had won.
"I said, 'Really?'" laughed Mike. "I said, 'Great! That's another great Christmas present.'"
As for Carolyn, she had no idea her husband had even entered a contest and was stunned by the news. She said Garcia's generosity will free up some of their own finances that can go towards their ongoing rebuilding.
"The relief of not having to put a new roof on too. I'm very grateful," said Carolyn.
The Brauds said they are looking forward to being able to say "Garcia did my roof." The couple says their blessings are uncountable.
"I'm just very grateful to Garcia," said Carolyn. "It's obvious they're trying to help the community and we thank them."