You can tell summer is almost here.
Just down the road in Cameron Parish, visitors are already heading to Holly Beach.
A grandmother enjoying a sunny day says of the beach, “It’s very beautiful, I love the homes here.”
It has been a favorite for decades for many Acadiana families.
It was a collection of fishing camps and small cabins all crowded on 25 by 50 foot lots.
But in 2005 and 2008, mother nature took it all away.
Hurricanes Rita and Ike struck along the Louisiana and Texas coastlines producing five to 15-foot storm surges, leveling everything.
Resident Maria Schexnaider said, “Nothing was standing, no posts, nothing.”
Weather experts reported Rita alone spawned some 92 tornadoes.
110 mph winds combined with the storm surge left almost every Cameron Parish resident homeless.
That was approximately 9500 people.
Schexnaider said, “Everything was gone. We could hardly find our place, but we did eventually find it because there were two hedges on our property.”
That double whammy of hurricanes Rita and Ike left Holly Beach a barren land, but now the “Cajun Riviera” is back.
Beautiful beachfront homes continue to replace the old camps and mobile homes.
One we priced is selling at just over $400-thousand dollars.
Schexnaider and her husband have lived on Holly Beach for 15 years.
She says, “We always planned to build, but we were staying in a FEMA trailer for about five years and we were able to build. We started last August 2017.”
Construction on their home is just about done, and with hurricane season approaching, you have to wonder why they chose to stay and build?
Schexnaider says, “It’s home. We’re not worried about that. This time we’ll have flood insurance. We didn’t have flood insurance before and it only wiped out for Rita and Audrey so we’re hoping for 50 more years.”
Visitors who enjoy the beauty as well, typically pack all they need to enjoy a day at the beach.
But there’s more to explore in nearby areas like the Creole Nature Trail, which extends from Sulphur to Holly Beach, also the historic Sabine Pass Lighthouse.
Meaux’s Seafood sells everything from fresh seafood to fishing supplies.
Bayaks Country Store is a great place to stop for delicious seafood, fried chicken, hamburgers, biscuits, bait and tackle.
T-Boys Cajun Grill in Creole is another option, and a local favorite for fried seafood, Cajun and Creole meats like tasso, burgers, boudin and more.
From the Gulf waters and beautiful beach to tropical winds, palm trees, and charming beachfront houses, what many call paradise has been restored.
Still standing as well is a statue of Jesus at the entrance to Holly Beach, the “Cajun Riviera”, a place many hope will be spared from experiencing mother nature’s wrath ever again.