Recovery at Holly Beach - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Recovery at Holly Beach

Completely leveled, few places saw more destruction from Hurricane Rita than Holly Beach.

But as meteorologist Kellie Hutchinson reports, despite insurance issues and stricter building codes life is returning to the beach community, bigger and better.  

Far in the distance signs of what once was...is now returning to holly beach.

One of the people rebuilding is Arkansas resident Rickey Clark. His home away from home was totally destroyed.

Clark: "Oh, it was beautiful!"

Clark has collected full payment from his insurance claim and hopes to start construction within the next two weeks.

Clark: "My insurance company... they paid me good. I had no problems with them, but then again, I had wind, fire, and also flood...So there wasn't the controversy over was it flood or was it the wind that took it."

But others have not been so lucky. Some homeowners are tied up in court with their claims, while others are settling for partial payment. But as you can see, that's not stopping people from rebuilding here at Holly Beach with at least a dozen homes already popping up.

Permanent Holly Beach resident Ray Miller was the first to move back into his home. He had to take out a SBA loan to cover the cost. His insurance company refused to pay, arguing over whether it was wind or water damage.

Miller: "State Farm, they have a little clause in there if it is a combination of two, the don't pay either or, so it's going to court. I have a suit against them right now."

Despite the struggles of getting affordable insurance, and the stricter building codes, Miller says he knew he'd return.

Miller: "This is home. Before it started out as a camp, this one here is built as a house...got all the amenities in it."

Down the street, Graig and Patty Broussard have settled for a percentage of their claim.

Graig Broussard: "Instead of dragging it out through the courts we went ahead and settled and then started the rebuilding the process."

Within the last four weeks, the Broussard's have started work on their retirement home. Originally a 900 square-foot camp built back in the late 50's, their new place is 4,400 square feet. With no other options, their insurance is through the state plan, which costs 10% more than the others.

Patty Broussard: "That was our way to get back and we'll do anything to get back to Holly Beach....I wish I could be here tomorrow...all day. We just love it here. It's beautiful!"

They prove you can't put a price on a way of life, and a community determined to come back.

With construction crews booked solid, residents say they expect to see two to three times more houses there next year.

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