Open House features hurricane and flood preparedness information

Johnny Morgan  |  7/28/2016 9:26:45 PM

(07/28/16) With July marking the beginning of the most active period of the hurricane season, the LSU AgCenter LaHouse Home and Landscape Resource Center presented a seasonal open house to help prepare for hurricanes and floods.

Staff members at the model home on the LSU campus provided research-based information to help in emergency situations.

They helped visitors find their home’s specific flood and wind risks using the AgCenter online flood map portal.

Visitors also saw the four different high-performance building systems designed to withstand hurricanes, attractive yet effective storm shutters, a low-cost storm shelter closet, flood-hardy walls and other features.

AgCenter housing specialist Claudette Reichel said the model home holds an open house during each season of the year.

“For this open house event, we want to emphasize resilience,” Reichel said. “I see LaHouse for its exhibit quality as sort of an educational museum and also as a technical resource.”

Some of the features included in the building that was completed in 2008 include 10 types of windows and doors, seven types of flooring and interior materials, and three different roof systems installed four ways, Reichel said.

Another unique feature of the home is the storm shelter in the master bedroom.

“We are telling this to retrofitters because they are relatively simple to implement,” she said. “The shelters are constructed with all wood material and the use of hurricane straps.”

LaHouse was in mid-construction when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit in 2005. This seemed at first to be a setback but was in reality a blessing in disguise, Reichel said.

“At the time, all of the contractors were so busy, we had to shift gears,” she said. “For two years, we decided to start having open house every Friday to give people ideas on how to rebuild stronger and better.”

In addition to a personal tour of the home, visitors received information and publications that show how to make a home wind and flood resistant, said AgCenter extension associate Shandy Heil.

“We are telling them what wind zones they live in and their requirements for building,” Heil said. “We want them to know their risks.”

She discussed the importance of proper shingle selection and the need for flood insurance and showed attendees how to use the flood maps. “You need to know your wind zone in order to make the best selection of building materials,” she said.

Mandeville resident Bret Villars said he had two reasons for attending the open house.

“First, my son works here, and he is always talking about this place. And second, we can get a lot of good information since I do most of my own repairs,” Villars said.

Josie Washington travelled from Baker to get ideas for protecting her home. She had heard about LaHouse and wanted to see what would be useful in her own home.

“This is the first year I’ve been in my house, and I want to prepare however I can,” she said.

LaHouse is located at 2858 Gourrier Ave. across from the LSU Alex Box Stadium and is open to the public Monday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, visit http://www.lsuagcenter.com/topics/family_home/home/lahouse or facebook.com/mylahouse.

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LSU AgCenter housing specialist Claudette Reichel discusses the features of the LSU AgCenter LaHouse Home and Landscape Resource Center during an open house on July 23. (Photo by Johnny Morgan)

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Josie Washington, right, of Baker, listens to LSU AgCenter housing specialist Claudette Reichel, discuss some of the features of the LSU AgCenter LaHouse Home and Landscape Resource Center during an open house on July 23. (Photo by Johnny Morgan)

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LSU AgCenter extension associate Shandy Heil explains the different flood maps to New Orleans residents Ginger and Greg Rigamer, while Chad Ross, FEMA floodplain management specialist looks on, during an LSU AgCenter LaHouse Home and Landscape Resource Center open house on July 23. (Photo by Johnny Morgan)

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