Novalis Innovative Flooring, Crescent Hardwood Supply and The Floor Store & More come to the aid of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A. devastated by flood in 2016.
The storm began on August 12, 2016 with more than three times the amount of rainfall than Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was calculated to be a 1–1000 year event. Three days later, 13 had died, 146,000 homes were flooded, and thousands of businesses were simply out of business. Seven months later, the recovery continues still.
The worst US natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012 forced thousands of Louisianan’s into shelters because their homes; many of them were not in “high flood risk areas” and carried no flood insurance.
FEMA gave some assistance to homeowners without flood insurance, while declaring 20 parishes disaster areas. But competing for attention between the Summer Olympics, the presidential election and with no unique name (like hurricanes get) to brand it, the Louisiana Flood of 2016 garnered little notice on the national scene – especially for a storm of this magnitude.
In the immediate aftermath, David Iles, owner of The Floor Store & More, a Carpet One dealer in Denham Springs, Louisiana, took plenty of notice and for good reason … both his home and his store had been hit hard, as well as all of his neighbor’s and customer’s homes.
At about the same time, Angie Alexander, National Sales Manager of Novalis Innovative Flooring, flew to Baton Rouge to assess the damage with Pat Barker, a representative of Crescent Hardwood Supply, the Novalis distributor in the area. Meeting up with David, Angie and Pat spent the day riding through the neighborhoods devastated by the flood and listening to the heart-wrenching accounts of the people affected.
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“I knew we needed to do something to help this area,” recalls Angie.
That day, and with the go-ahead from CEO John Wu of Novalis, Angie was able to offer close-out LVT to help as many as possible in the area. The initial dollar amount transported from the Novalis warehouse in Georgia by Crescent was over $40,000 in value. Donations now exceed $55,000 and climbing. A “partnership of recovery” between the dealer, the distributor and the manufacturer had been forged to begin the long rebuilding process for people in Louisiana.
David Iles spearheaded the coordinated effort and floor installations, Novalis provided new LVT, and Crescent provided new displays to affected dealers; as well as the shipping to Baton Rouge. Everyone agreed the aid was needed to supplement assistance from FEMA to get homes and businesses repaired.
“The stories and the devastation are heartbreaking,” observed Alexander, who often checks in on the progress of those who have become her new family of friends in Louisiana. “Many put priority on rebuilding their businesses – their only source of livelihood – before fixing their own homes. At least we’ve been able to help with a new floor for both their home and business, and for that, these hard working people are so grateful.” In addition to local floor covering dealers helped, such as The Floor Store & More, Coco’s Floor Covering, Marshand’s, and Rancher Floor Covering. Others helped were a local restaurant, a pastor, many elderly homeowners with no flood insurance, and young couples with children who were financially wiped out, as well as many, many more.
“We felt strongly about coming to the aid of the people of Baton Rouge after hearing the account of the devastation,” said John Wu, CEO of Novalis. “I believe this experience can serve as an example of how businesses can pull together to help the communities they serve. We were only too happy to play a small part.”