Officials Visit LaHouse To Stress Rebuilding Stronger, Safer,
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials
came to an LSU AgCenter educational site Wednesday (Nov. 9) to
stress that rebuilding "stronger, safer and smarter"
is the way to go for those affected by this summer’s hurricanes.
Stronger, safer and smarter construction is a
major theme behind the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana House Home
and Landscape Resource Center.
Known as LaHouse, for short, the project is being
built on the university campus in Baton Rouge. It will serve as
a showcase of solutions for the challenges posed by Louisiana’s
unique climate and conditions – ranging from storms to termites.
"LaHouse … is quite an inspiration,"
said FEMA mitigation specialist Roger Faris. "The experts
at LSU are really poised to lead us forward in rebuilding Louisiana."
Although the LaHouse project already was well
under way before hurricanes Katrina and Rita came ashore in Louisiana
this summer, officials say it now is more important than ever.
"We are excited about what’s here in
LaHouse," said Dr. William B. "Bill" Richardson,
chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. "I wish we didn’t have
to talk about how important it is to be prepared for storms, but
that’s certainly part of the reality of what we in Louisiana
have been through the past eight weeks.
"We know that having homes to live in is
a critical part of the economic recovery after a storm. Building
them strong enough to stand up to a storm is one way to ensure
people have a place to go home to after the storm has passed."
That message also was stressed by FEMA officials
during their visit to LaHouse this week.
"The up-front costs on this type of construction
can be 5 percent to 25 percent more," Faris admitted about
the features that make houses better able to withstand storms.
"The payback, however, comes each year with the insurance
premium savings you see, and the huge payback comes when you come
back after a storm and the structure is still intact and all the
precious things are still there."
Construction capable of withstanding hurricane
force winds of up to 130 miles per hour is just one of the features
demonstrated in LaHouse. It also demonstrates more durable roofing
methods and ways to avoid flood damage among its range of features
designed to exhibit ways to have greater comfort, quality, durability,
property value and better health with less energy, water, waste,
pollution and damage from storms, termites, mold, decay and other
"What we want to do is show people how to
avoid being victims of storms and other hazards," said LSU
AgCenter housing specialist Dr. Claudette Reichel, who oversees
the LaHouse project. "All the people in Louisiana who are
unfortunately involved in rebuilding homes right now have the
power to do that."
Officials say they hope the LaHouse project in
Baton Rouge, which has been funded entirely by private donations,
can be duplicated in other areas, such as New Orleans.
"We know we’re going to have hurricanes
in the future, so it’s all about preparing to face them,"
Richardson said. "We think we’re going to be in the
business of educating people about how to do that for a long time,
and, if we can, we’d like to build more resources like LaHouse
so even more people can see how to make their homes stronger,
safer and smarter."
on LaHouse and other educational and research projects of the
LSU AgCenter can be found by visiting www.lsuagcenter.com.
You also can find information on stronger, safer and smarter construction
in the LSU AgCenter publication, "Building Your Louisiana
House," which is available through that site.
In addition, the LSU AgCenter has a wealth of
storm recovery information online – or you can obtain answers
to specific storm-recovery questions by phoning the LSU AgCenter
Disaster Recovery Hotline at (866) 573-0178.
Back to 2005 News Page