Holly Beach continues to rebuild - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Holly Beach continues to rebuild

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Nearly eight years after Hurricane Rita destroyed Holly Beach, it continues to grow. More than 40 homes and camps now brighten this stretch of the Gulf Coast.

"This is a luxury. We call this a luxury. When we were little, we called this our Florida," said Preston Broussard.

Preston and his wife, Judy, are among those who have rebuilt. They grew up here as children and eventually bought their own camp and remodeled it before Hurricane Rita leveled Holly Beach.

"It was heartbreaking. We worked very hard on the camp before Rita and it was heartbreaking to come back and see it completely gone. Because we saved nothing. We didn't have anything left," said Judy.

The Broussards were also hit hard at their home in Vermilion Parish.

"It was like a bomb went off here. I remember when we came back for the first time. I sat down on the slab on the piece of cement we had left of our camp and I cried because of the loss," said Preston.

It would take the Broussards several years to rebuild their camp. Hurricane Ike would cause another delay. The couple finally managed to finish their new camp about a year ago.

Up the road, neighbor Bryan Trahan is one of Holly Beach's newest residents. He and his wife moved into what will one day be their retirement home about a month ago. They, too, recall what it used to look like before Rita wiped out more than 500 homes and camps.

"It was a summer deal. We came here every summer with our families," said Trahan.

Rebuilding was always their dream. But it would come at a cost. To build a camp or home, you must now own a minimum of four lots.  

"We have restrictions. We built the right height so we are following the government's restrictions they set on us here. We have insurance - it's costly - but it's still worth it. We find it's worth it," said Trahan.

Experts expect the 2013 storm season to be above average. They predict 13 to 20 named storms, 7 to 11 hurricanes and 3 to 6 of those being major hurricanes. Despite those numbers, residents of Holly Beach said it's a chance they're willing to take.

"It's scary but life is too short so you do whatever you enjoy and we enjoy this," said Judy.

With the Gulf of Mexico their front yard, they will keep a close watch and hope for the best should a storm develop.

"I hope it stays east or west. Don't come here. That's all I have to say. Stay away," said Trahan.

For now, there's no place they would rather be.

"We love it ... We just love it. It's just in our hearts to be here," said Preston.

Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

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