DULAC, La. — Standing in front of his destroyed home in Dulac, Louisiana, one year after Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast, Cleveland Verodin can't help but think about the passage of time.
"Hard to believe it's been one year," Verodin said looking back at the home he'd lived in all his life.
For this 63-year-old and so many others impacted by the storm, it still feels as though time has stood still.
"Man I hate to go up there, it brings back memories," he added.
But there are other moments when this life-long Louisiana resident knows he’s up against the clock. FEMA gave Verodin a small RV to live in after his home was destroyed. They will likely come to take it back in early 2023, though, meaning Verodin has to find someplace to live or rebuild his old home at a time when finding contractors or builders is still tough.
"Good things will come to those who wait and I’m waiting," he said.
While Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast first, it left a trail of destruction across the country. Ida was the most expensive natural disaster of 2021 causing an estimated $65 billion in damage and killing 115 people.
Kentrell Garner and his family have also been living in a mobile home provided by FEMA for the last year.
"When you’ve been through what I’ve been through you’ve gotta be grateful," said Garner who also lives in Dulac.
But there has been plenty of progress made here in the last 365 days. Plenty of these small towns have got critical pieces of infrastructure back online and there aren’t as many blue tarps on top of homes dotting the landscape.
For so many homeowners, it's been a year of understanding the importance of patience.
"Down here we use are to hurricanes so it’s normal, you don’t expect anything to just pop up and be back."