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Repeat flooders using lessons from 2016 as another recovery effort begins

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BATON ROUGE - Cluttered curbs and piles of debris dotting driveways tell the story of last Monday's flooding. For Shawana Taylor-Walker, it's a story she knows all too well.

"Is it inconvenient," Taylor-Walker asks herself. "Yes, it is. Is it going to be stressful? Yes, it is. But I'm still here to be able to do these things.

Taylor-Walker and her family moved to their home on Buckingham Avenue off Old Hammond Highway in 2008. Eight years later, in 2016, that home would flood, with water nearing the top of the front door. And just last week, the water line seen on several feet lower, shows where it invaded once again.

Her family is now a member of a club no one wants to be a part of: repeat flooders. With the water gone and the repair process looming yet again, she feels better equipped to handle it, for the most part.

"It's going to be harder because we've done this before," Taylor-Walker said. "Just because we're doing all this, and are we doing this in vain, for one. But, it's going to be easier because at least I know what to expect in the process of rebuilding my home."

The holding pattern, she references, that followed the 2016 flood is not the case this time. As soon as water entered the home, they moved important documents and keepsakes to higher ground. When the rain stopped, they got right to work.

"Knowing I need to call my homeowners' insurance, file a claim," Taylor-Walker said. "I need to call my flood insurance, file a claim. I need to call my car insurance. I know those were things I had to do before anything else."

When it comes to finding restoration companies and contractors, and dealing with three flood cars, Taylor-Walker now knows to be extra vigilant to avoid being scammed.

"Just being cautious and asking for those estimates upfront, versus just come do the work, and we'll figure it out on the tail end," Taylor-Walker said. And recognizing that myself, I cannot physically do this work this time."

When it comes to actually making repairs, which started over the weekend, with drywall being torn out and added to the curb, 2016 gave her better insight, as well.

"We can't just cut out two feet of drywall," Taylor-Walker said, pointing to where water reached. "We have to actually go up [to] four [feet.] Having the prior experience gives us the knowledge to make better decisions going into it the second time."

That experience seems to be making a stressful process a little bit easier, and for Taylor-Walker, hopefully faster, too.

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