For some, recovery means starting over after flooding


MANDEVILLE, La. — More than a week after flooding in areas of Mandeville, some homeowners are still trying to recover.

For some, recovery means starting over.

John Wolke and his family are trying to salvage what they can before the mold completely takes over. In all, 18 units were destroyed at Cypress Lake Apartments.

“The water rose fast,” Wolke said. “It happened real quick and before we knew it, we were wading around in 10 inches of water in here. It was a shock to the system.”

Wolke said the water was more than two feet deep in areas of the parking lot. The Sheriff’s Office eventually rescued his family and several neighbors.

“To watch all of your stuff and feel just helpless and powerless,” Wolke said.

Wolke has renters insurance, but his policy does not cover a natural flood.

“There’s nothing they can do for us for our possessions,” Wolke said. “All of our furniture. The dressers now have mold in them and the wood is warped on them.”

Wolke’s apartment complex has offered temporary housing for three days as repairs start, but government aid is not available.

A St. Tammany Parish spokesperson said the recent flood does not appear to warrant reaching out to state or federal partners. According to the parish, the federal government requires a $300,000 damage threshold for the region before beginning the disaster declaration process.

“This is not the last time something like this is going to happen wherever it might be,” Wolke said. “It’s just what do you do in this situation?”

For now, the Wolke’s are staying with family as they try to find a new home. They say the housing market amid the pandemic has added more stress.

“Life can throw you a curve ball. So, what do you do?”

Multiple people at the same apartment complex not only lost the majority of their belongings, but also lost their cars. One woman said the water reached her steering wheel.

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