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Gardens Assisted Living officially welcomes back residents

Residents and staff returned to a newly renovated facility
The CDC announced Friday it was making a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine available for moderately to severely immunocompromised people.
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 9:50 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Residents and staff were overjoyed to return back to the Gardens Assisted Living facility Wednesday. Their original facility was severely damaged during last year’s hurricanes, and all of the residents were evacuated.

Some residents were moved as far away as Baton Rouge, away from their friends and family.

Martha Comeaux was one of the residents that lived in the facility prior to the storm. Today, she was ecstatic to return home.

“Oh my God! Nobody knows. It’s like when I walked in, it’s like I’m home,” Comeaux said.

More than a year later, residents like Comeaux and Ronald Read returned to the Gardens Assisted Living.

“I never dreamed I’d be back here. It’s a good place to live,” Read said.

The Lake Charles facility suffered severe damage in the 2020 hurricanes, forcing the residents out. Some were able to move in with family members, while some moved to a sister facility in Baton Rouge.

Ashlee Guidry worked at the facility before the storms and said it is tough to evacuate a facility like this one.

“It’s tough to move when you have more than just yourselves and your families to evacuate. So, it was definitely tough,” Guidry said.

Residents who had to move to Baton Rouge or other facilities had to leave family and friends in the Lake Area behind. Although some of those family members were able to travel to the temporary homes, it wasn’t as easy as driving down the street.

Guidry says COVID-19 protocols also made it difficult to visit.

Now, those residents are back in their new and improved homes. Bridget Boudreaux is one of the newer staff members and just joined the team a few months ago.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to just get up and go see your mother or your father,” Boudreaux said.

Guidry and Boudreaux said the staff has been working tirelessly to ensure the new facility is perfect for both old and new residents to move into.

They were both happy to be reunited with residents, and the feeling was mutual.

“We’ve had a lot of familiar faces come through our doors. A lot of happy folks glad to be home,” Boudreaux said.

“To just welcome them has just been exciting,” Guidry said.

While it was a long and difficult road, all agree the updated building was worth the wait.

“It was unfortunate what happened because the whole building got wiped out. They rebuilt better is what it looks like,” Read said.

“It’s all brand new. They’ve upgraded it. It’s just beautiful here. I love it,” Comeaux said.

Their new version of home is closer to family, closer to friends and closer to normal.

“‘Home’ was the word I had been looking for and wanting to be back here,” Comeaux said.

At this time, the facility is focusing on moving in residents who were living at The Gardens prior to the storm. Once they are moved in and settled, staff will begin opening applications for new residents in the coming weeks.

They are still under some construction and working to put the finishing touches on the new facility.

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