Team Rubicon volunteers renovate hurricane-damaged residence

Marlisa Harding

Susan Stewart returned to a fully renovated home on Thursday thanks to volunteers from Team Rubicon. The veteran-led disaster response team completely restored her hurricane damaged home including gutting, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, flooring, roof and windows restoration.  

Stewart’s first words upon walking into the four-generation family home were, “Oh my God, my kitchen. A new sink too? This is unreal. I’ve never really had nothing on my own.” 

Stewart has lived in the home since the 1970’s along with her grandmother, parents and her own children. “This just means everything to me,” she said.  

“This where I want to be. But for me to be here I had to have it fixed.” 

Hurricane Delta wreaked the most damage to the Lake Charles property. “My house was shuffled during Laura, but rain came in during Delta and fell through the cracks.” 

She came upon Team Rubicon when they were cutting trees down in the neighborhood. Volunteers signed her up for gutting and mold treatment which she initially thought were their only services.  

“I thought maybe they could take the mold out and then work around the other stuff. But they did that and fixed it a whole lot better!” 

She’s lived in the area with a kind friend since the home was initially damaged but returning home has always been her number one priority. “I just like being here,” she said pointing to the property and neighborhood.  

“I’m the last one of the pack that’s left here. It’s not many of us left that were here back in ‘76.” 

Returning home also has somber significance for Stewart as her son was tragically killed outside of the home in 2019. “I guess I’ll always be a mother first. With him dying all of a sudden and you have nobody in the house? I’m just glad I moved back.” 

Her eyes filled with tears when she was able to enter his remodeled bedroom. “This is going to be my praying room now. Thank ya’ll so much. It just means everything.”

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Susan Stewart waits for Team Rubicon volunteers to arrive to give her a grand tour of her refurbished Church Street house Thursday afternoon.

Donna Price