It happens to be a coincidence that we decided to do our HOME issue the same month as the two year anniversary of The Great Flood. For many of us, home is defined in a very different way than it was two years ago. Home is supposed to be your safe haven, the place you go when there is nowhere else. I’m not sure how many people still feel safe at home after 2016’s flood, but I can tell you that I don’t.
Sure, I’ve got a new roof over my head, and basic necessities, but those things are not what makes a house a home. Home is where you grew up, where you made memories with the people you love, where your family photos hung, where your dog buried thirty bones in the backyard, where the curtains your grandmother hand-sewed hung. So, when flood waters wash away all of the tangible items, what are you left with? Your memories, and that is all.
While most of us are lucky to have survived, there is still a deep mourning for the things we lost. Of course, they are only things, but they were our things—things we worked for our whole lives, irreplaceable things. I think Clint Bordelon—featured in our Faces of the Great Flood piece on page 24—said it best with “people who say possessions are replaceable, still have theirs.”
But in the same pages where we remember the loss and devastation of that time, we also celebrate the beauty and heart that go into creating (or recreating) a home. This month, we feature three homes, so varied in their style and aesthetic, that they represent what a home is from one end of the spectrum to the other.
In my own home, people walk in and gush, “Oh my god. I love your kitchen!” And I kind of grumble and force a “Thank you.” When I look at it, all I see are the things I want to change. The countertops I would not have chosen, the missing backsplash, the stovetop on the island, the generic hardware, and the stupid vent hood that I bang my head on constantly. While it is nice enough, it is not “me.”
So, how do you define the word home? What does it mean? For me, it has been redefined over and over in the last 20 years. Right now, it is a roof over our heads, walls to keep us safe, and a never-ending list of projects. It’s shelves put together by my fiancé and installed by my father. It’s kitchen utensils and storage boxes supplied by my mother. It’s a hundred DIY craft projects, garage sale finds, and hand-me-downs to fill the empty spaces. Most importantly, it’s a place filled with love, by the people I love, and that’s what makes it home.
DIG Baton Rouge