Many flood victims still living in tents and metal sheds in Denham Springs

Many flood victims still living in tents and metal sheds in Denham Springs

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - The day before Thanksgiving was a beautiful fall day, but on Dogwood Street in Magnolia Estates in Denham Springs, things were far from normal.

A drive down the street revealed several people are living in tents right in their own yards and in one case, a family is living in metal sheds.

"No insulation, just your regular yard shed that you might have your lawn mower in," said Revonda Kirby, a volunteer.

The people living in those sheds said they had been in there since the flood while they were fixing their trailers. But, one of the trailers caught fire, setting the other two trailers on this property on fire as well, destroying all three.

Kirby is a volunteer who has been going to the neighborhood helping the family.

"It's a long time after the flood and people, I think, have forgotten how serious it was and how many people were affected and don't realize … those that were unaffected do not realize that there are folks living in tents," Kirby explained.

One of those people is Kenneth Musemeche.

"Water line was right there (about 5 ft.) and it came up within two hours," said Musemeche.

He had been living in a tent outside his home since the flood, but now, he said it's too cold.

"It's a good fall tent, but it's not a good winter time tent," Musemeche explained.

So, he moved back inside his flooded trailer. He said he had back surgery and has not been able to gut anything out. It's why there is mold in the trailer, but Musemeche has ripped out the carpet in his bedroom and sleeps on a small mattress on the floor.

"This was home. You make the best of what you have," Musemeche added.

When you ask him what he needs, he said prayers because he is content while he waits on a FEMA trailer.

"It's very uncomfortable for these individuals to ask for help. A lot of the people I've been taking things to have been the ones who have helped people in the past before. They've never had to ask for assistance. So, there's a measure of respect," Kirby added.

It's why volunteers like Kirby take it upon themselves to go to neighborhoods like Magnolia Estates and check on families.

"When the flood started, my husband and I were fortunate enough not to flood. We live in Baton Rouge. Our grandbabies are in Denham Springs and we could not reach them and we started volunteering that day and haven't stopped since," Kirby said.

Her SUV is full of donations like blankets and microwaves. She went to homes to drop off the donations. While doing so, one of the neighbors stopped to ask her if she was giving away the microwaves. Within a minute, Kirby went by Mary Vohsberg's home and dropped of a brand new microwave and coffee pot.

"It's stuff that we need and we're at the point that we can't hardly afford it," said Vohsberg.

The Vohsbergs have lived at their home for the past 40 years and never flooded until August. Just before the flood, the couple was on vacation in their camper. After they returned, that camper became home because their house took on about five feet of water.

"I pray every day that we will get back to some kind of normalcy. We have no normal, none. What little I've got, we had on vacation. I only packed for five days, clothes, cooking things. That's it," Vohsberg explained.

The giving did not stop there as Kirby handed them a coffee pot as well. Plus, she made a note to bring them groceries because they needed them.

"This has been the most horrific experience and the most beautiful experience at the same time," said Kirby.

"The generosity of people is unreal and it's great," Vohsberg added.

Kirby is just another person who is doing what she believes her heart is telling her to do.

"I think any bit of normalcy, having those traditions, Thanksgiving and Christmas like they've experienced it over the years, having that little bit of normalcy right now provides hope so that maybe they can look to next year and next year we're going to be in a better situation," said Kirby.

But for people like the Vohsbergs, Kirby is a God sent angel.

"God sent her," said Vohsberg.

With her actions, Kirby just gave them a bit more reason to say thanks this Thanksgiving.

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