LSU AgCenter Hosts Cameron Parish Tour of Hurricane-Resistant Homes Sept. 23

Cynthia C. Richard, Coreil, Paul D., Schultz, Bruce, Attaway, Denise  |  9/14/2007 9:07:08 PM

News Release Distributed 09/13/07

CAMERON – Construction techniques used by Cameron Parish residents rebuilding their homes will be featured during a tour of homes on Sept. 23 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The tour’s theme is “Rita Recovery: Rebuilding Safer, Stronger and Smarter,” according to Cynthia Richard, an LSU AgCenter housing agent who organized the event. The three homes on the tour were built to meet hurricane resistance requirements of the residential building code, which took effect in March 2006 for coastal parishes and statewide on Jan. 1, 2007.

“We want to show the public they can live in our coastal regions as long as they build safer, stronger and smarter,” Richard said. “By visiting these houses, consumers can learn about proper elevation techniques for building in flood-hazard areas. Another important concept is having a continuous load path so that connections tie the structural parts of the house together to resist high winds.”

One home on the tour – owned by Bryon “Goose” and Carla Richard – is an elevated structure that replaces the original ground-level house.

“This is inherited property,” Bryon Richard said. “We’ve lived here all of our lives. We couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. We never had any doubt we wouldn’t rebuild. We just had to figure out how.”

The house sits on ten-by-ten wood pilings 8 feet above the ground. The pilings are wrapped with brick veneer to match the overall contemporary look of the house. The veneer is used for decorative purposes only and does not provide any support.

Margaret Jones’ house, another on the tour, is an elevated two-story structure with several innovations including cement-fiber siding, composite deck boards and stair treads, vinyl porch railings and energy-saving features.

Like the Richards’ house, Jones’ former house was ground-level. Jones said she too couldn’t think of living anywhere else.

“I decided that even if I had to build an elevated structure to come back, I’d do it,” she said. “My new house is elevated, and I love it.”

The Jones house has a foundation made up of 36 wood pilings. The 20-foot pilings were driven into the ground 10 feet and are surrounded by a collar of concrete 24 inches in diameter to a depth of 5 feet. The pilings are connected to the concrete collar and slab with a reinforcing bar.

The third house on the tour – owned by Karen and Thompson “Thomp” McCall – is supported by concrete pilings tied together by a grade beam and topped with an integrated slab.

The McCall house has a number of functional features, including ceramic tile floors and natural gas for cooking, water heating and laundry. Two water heaters, operating in zones, provide energy savings. The windows are made of UV-resistant glass, which minimizes sunlight damage to interior carpets and drapes as well as heat transmitted by sunlight.

The McCall family has seen immediate benefits from their home’s design in the form of lower flood insurance premiums and increased homeowner’s coverage for about the same premium cost.

“It is important to make sure people learn how to build homes using appropriate building practices,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for extension. “This tour provides a perfect learning opportunity for people building on the Gulf Coast. The tour will be in a relaxed, community setting that will allow people to meet others who are rebuilding. They can exchange information and ideas.”

For driving directions to each home, call the LSU AgCenter office in either Calcasieu Parish at (337) 475-8812 or Cameron Parish at (337) 905-1318. An information center will be located in Cameron at 180 Henry St., near the courthouse, on the day of the event.

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Contacts: Cynthia Richard at (337) 475-8812, or crichard@agcenter.lsu.edu
Paul Coreil at (225) 578-6083, or pcoreil@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writers: A. Denise Attaway at (225) 578-6087, or dattaway@agcenter.lsu.edu
Bruce Schultz at (337) 788-8821, or bschultz@agcenter.lsu.edu

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