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Anchoring Code Defends Home from Katrina's Winds

FRANKLINTON, LA – During the winter of 2002, David and Laquetta Passman moved their manufactured home from Enon to Franklinton, Louisiana. The relocation required the Passmans to come into compliance with new building codes, which mandated stringent anchoring standards intended to protect manufactured homes from high velocity wind forces.

When Hurricane Katrina brought sustained winds in excess of 150 miles per hour to the Franklinton area in August 2005, the Passman home remained secure on its foundation. The couple believes their home survived because of their compliance with the current anchoring code.

The Passmans are volunteer firefighters with Washington Parish’s Fire District Number One. They moved to Franklinton to be closer to the fire station and to Mr. Passman’s parents, who are now their next door neighbors. When the hurricane struck, the family congregated at the elder Passmans’ residence to ride it out together.

“When the wind started shaking the house my mom called up and said we better get over to her place…. I told her I thought we’d be alright, but [she was worried so] we rode out the storm over there,” said David Passman.

Hurricane Katrina caused tremendous wind damage in the Franklinton area. The storm blew apart trailers, tore roofs from houses, and knocked down trees by the acre. The Passmans’ residence did sustain exterior damage, but it was minor in comparison with the devastation suffered by many other manufactured homes in the area.

“A man just down the road from here lost his house,” noted Mr. Passman. “The way [my house] was anchored before, I don’t think it would’ve made it. I think it would’ve been blown right over.”

In order bring his home into compliance with Washington Parish’s current anchoring standards, Mr. Passman followed the recommendations of a structural engineer. The engineer evaluated Mr. Passman’s property and advised him to replace several inches of topsoil with dense clay. The engineer then instructed Mr. Passman to secure his home on thicker, heavier concrete foundation pads, and to fasten it with many more steel straps and auger-style ground anchors than he had been required to use in the past.

David and Laquetta Passman are invested in public safety. As firefighters, they assisted in Franklinton’s post-storm recovery, witnessing destruction to a degree which they hope never to see again. They want to encourage everyone in hurricane and tornado-prone areas to invest in wind-resistant construction methods and materials to protect themselves and their property from future storms.

Last updated June 3, 2020