DENHAM SPRINGS – The shops in the Denham Springs Antique District are known for the pieces of history they collect and sell. Now, these items, some hundreds of years old, are left in shambles.
"I didn't know the force of the water," Deanna Welch, of Louisiana Purchase Antiques, said.
The flood water destroyed thousands of dollars of antiques, shattered shop windows and erased decades of work. Left behind is the overwhelming mess.
"And the mud once it settled, all of the small intricate things are smashed or full of mud," Welch said.
The stores depend on vendors to rent and sell antiques, but now owners are left wondering what to do.
"They will not be paying me rent, they will not have antiques to sell, so we have no income and no insurance," Welch said.
The shops face a long road to recovery, but the beginning steps are taking damaged items to the curb, cleaning the mud-covered floors and artifacts, and demolishing the water-damaged walls.
Store owner of Theatre Antiques, Elvin Watts, said that he thinks he lost up to $100,000 in antiques, but even if he had insurance, he says it would not help.
"They will insure the building for flood insurance, but they don't like to touch the contents," Watts said.
Without many options, store owners are relying on themselves, a task that many need help with.
"And we need help, I don't want them to give up, they are doing what they love, they are doing what makes them feel alive, and I don't want them to give up," Welch said.
Despite the recent flood, antique dealers manage to remain hopeful the district will recover and are looking for help from the community in rebuilding.