HOLDEN, LA (WAFB) - Almost two years after the August flood of 2016, Vernon Dean and his wife, Joyce, are still not open for business.
"It's just hard to see my husband go through what he built," said Joyce Dean. "He built a really big business. It's almost been 40 years that we've had our business. To see him look at everything that's gone, it's hard," she said.
Their business, Dean's Auto Glass in Holden, took on a foot of water in March of 2016 and then their home was hit five times as hard in August with almost six feet of water. The Deans were facing a tough road ahead.
"I lost all my computers and everything," said Joyce, who runs the office for the family business. "I took so many pictures, so many photos of the kids. I had to go through all of them and basically just save a few and cut them out."
But perhaps the toughest milestone for the Deans was fighting an uphill battle with a home that was paid for and surrounded by a levee, but they d ropped their flood insurance after it got too costly. "After we d ropped the insurance, we figured the levee would be okay," Joyce said. "We had two rough years and we just couldn't afford it. You are insurance poor when you have a business and health insurance, plus all the things we've been going through."
"If your home is paid for and you can't afford it," Joyce said. "What are you supposed to do? That's where we were at."
Forced to start over, the Deans, who were planning on retiring in the next few years, bought a trailer next to their flooded home and now have a 15-year mortgage and flood insurance.
"We just do the best we can. That's all anybody can right now," said Joyce.
With hurricane season in full swing, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says right now, 23 percent of properties in the state, including homes and businesses, are insured. That's compared to two years ago when only 12 percent of flooded properties had insurance in place.
"What a big difference it makes. Those folks who had flood insurance collected about 90,000 on average for their claims for their losses," Donelon said.
The Deans say they encourage anyone who can afford flood insurance to get it, but by far their greatest asset that allowed them to bounce back was the community.
"It was nice to know that what we would always do in the church or help other people, it kind of came back to us," Joyce said. "We're down, but we're not out."