A Wider View . . .

For Emilie, Rebel, and others who have expressed an interest in houses that appear to be flying anywhere from 8 to 14 feet in the air, I took a couple quick photos to give you a wider view of the variety of homes that are “elevated”.

Fishermen's Retreat

This is a small view of the gated community directly across the bayou from Camp Dularge.  Most of these are weekend “camps” with only six occupied as full-time residences.  On the average, they are about 12 feet off the ground.

Old House

This is an older house located down the road which was elevated after hurricane Rita and before Hurricane Ike.  It’s cute, isn’ t it?

Two Camps

Here are a couple more camps, which are about 14 feet off the ground.

All new construction down here must be elevated at least 12 feet above sea level.  Please realize that all of the older homes that sit closer to the ground were not built in a “flood zone”.  Due to increasing rates of subsidence and rapid disappearance of the marsh that used to absorb storm surge and protect us from flooding, the land on which we live is getting closer and closer to sea level.

Just to make this clear, I do not have the option of repairing my home to “pre-storm” condition and leaving it as it is–four feet above the ground.  Whether I repair my old home or build a new one, it has to be 12 feet above the ground.

Any questions, class?

Your Wetland Educator,

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  1. Very interesting. That one house you said was cute, reminds me of yours. Are your kids excited or interested in stayin’ in the house now that its elevated?

  2. The “cute” house has the right idea about step landings. Don’t have the steps on your rental house (Camp Dularge) going straight up if you can help it. At that height your going to need a place to catch your breath or, at least, to put packages down for a relay. No kidding.

    1. I’m already on top of that, Katy Bug. I designed both front and back steps with a landing half-way down for safety and comfort. Thanks for making sure, though!

  3. Wow ! This is fascinating, especially to someone like me from Ohio. How do the residents feel about having to do this – is it welcomed because of safety, etc., or are people not happy about the expense of doing it ??

    1. Patricia, your question about our welcoming it is a loaded question. For those of us who reside here (and not just come down here to fish on weekends) the cost of elevating is out of reach. But if you have flood insurance and you have flooded at least twice, and if you had what FEMA calculates as “substantial damage” AND you live a community that FEMA has now labeled a “repetitive loss community” AND you own the home, and you own the land, then you might qualify for an insurance-related program called “Increased Cost of Compliance” that will pay the lowest cost possible to elevate your home. The going rate to raise a small wood-frame home is $30,000. The going rate for a single-wide mobile home is $25,000. The going rate to raise a brick home on a slab? Well, it’s more than the house is worth–around $120,000. So I’ll let you decide if the residents are happy about the requirements. That is why many of us have not repaired our homes to “pre-storm” —we don’t have the $$$ to elevate.

  4. As these camps (as well as the campers) get older, I imagine y’all will begin to see elevators being installed. Grand Isle sure is! When construction begins on the new house, you might just want to add one into the budget. You’re not getting any younger you know! LOL. If that’s an expense that is not “do-able”, maybe y’all can install just a large pulley system like you see on old barn lofts. If I should come to visit, I might need the help getting to the front door. I’m older than you!

    1. Steffi – Like I said to Katy Bug – there are lots of camps with either dumb waiters or elevators. I was going to take a photo of an older house raised up and elevator added to the front, but the folks were outside and I didn’t think they would like to doing drive-by photography!!! This house is only 8 feet off the ground, so it’s not nearly as bad as the camps across the bayou that are 14 feet high!!! Older than me? Not by much, my dear!!

  5. These are pretty, BW. I’ve seen similar houses on the Outer Banks in NC. It’s sensible.

    There are some elevators available now that aren’t too expensive, btw. I’ve been looking into them for one of our libraries as a way to provide handicapped access to a lower floor. I think they’re called limited-use elevators. From what I’ve read, they are becoming almost standard in many new houses today.

  6. Okay, maybe I am just a wee bit slow here… I get the need to elevate for the water and flooding…but what about the wind damage, now that the houses are in clouds???

    1. We’re totally with you, Vance. The flood insurance rates go down while the wind insurance is either sky high (no pun intended!) or non-existent. So, it’s a trade-off!

  7. Thank you. I live on the top of hill 1,000 feet up from you. This the the closest to see level I’ve gotten. I’ ve got my head in the clouds…