According to the Damage Assessment Wizard on the City of New Orleans website, our house “is NOT substantially damaged.” It also says: “You may continue to FastTrack Permitting and you will NOT be required to elevate your structure in order to secure a permit to restore your building.”
Perhaps that’s because our property is listed as “41.94% Damaged.” Now how the hell did they come up with that figure? I’m not sure, but I suspect they may have just looked at how high the water came versus the height of the house.
It also says that we are in “Flood Zone: A4 (100 YR FLOOD EVENT) 0 (AT SEA LEVEL)” which I understand to mean that our land is right at sea level. But I’ve heard this data is from a 1984 survey. We’ve probably sunk a bit since then.
Then there’s the following advice:
It is recommended that all owners whose properties are currently below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) strongly consider raising the level of structures in order to avoid future flooding and potential insurance difficulties. FEMA offers Flood Mitigation Assistance of up to $30,000 for work that will bring a structure above BFE.
So, to sum up, we don’t have to elevate, but maybe we should.