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AP PHOTOS: Louisiana residents struggle months after storms

December 30, 2020 GMT
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Tiffany Theriot, right, founder of the charity Cajun Commissary, surprises Cristin Trahan with a Christmas tree donated by a volunteer, on the property of their destroyed home in Lake Charles, La., Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Cristin, her husband and a son are living in tents on the property, while her other son, his fiancée and their one-year old son are living in a loaned camper there. A relative's home on the same property is now gutted and they are living in a camper as well. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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Tiffany Theriot, right, founder of the charity Cajun Commissary, surprises Cristin Trahan with a Christmas tree donated by a volunteer, on the property of their destroyed home in Lake Charles, La., Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Cristin, her husband and a son are living in tents on the property, while her other son, his fiancée and their one-year old son are living in a loaned camper there. A relative's home on the same property is now gutted and they are living in a camper as well. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Well after Hurricanes Laura and Delta ravaged southwest Louisiana, the state and its people are still far from recovered, with many living in tents and cooking their meals over open fires while they slowly work to rebuild their destroyed homes.

Ricky and Cristin Trahan are among those still struggling, months after Hurricane Laura roared through the region as a Category 4 storm in August, followed by Category 2 Hurricane Delta in October.

From a relative’s house where they had taken refuge, the Trahans watched as Laura flipped over and destroyed their mobile home. When they returned, any possessions that hadn’t been looted were strewn about their property.

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Since then, they have been living as a family in tents, only recently acquiring a camper for their son, Ricky Jr.; his fiancée, Katelyn Smith; and their 1-year-old boy; and a propane water heater that has allowed them to take hot showers.

The Trahans have received used clothing, occasional meals and other help from volunteers, but they still confront daily challenges. A recent cold front with strong winds and rain knocked out their gas generator, while extension cords plugged into a power strip lying in the wet mud had to be covered with plastic to protect them from the elements. Volunteers had given them a Christmas tree and lights to help them celebrate the holiday, but the rough weather forced them to stow the gifts in a storage tent.

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Eventually the Trahans expect to receive a trailer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but they don’t believe it will arrive for some time. In the meantime, they do their best to survive in the cold, often rainy nights, improvising as they go along to survive in the rubble that was once their home.