"This brick belonged to the Slovenian Lodge," says Oliver Diaz, Sr., pointing to one of the many bricks that make up the outer walls of businesses. "This one was the French club. This come out of the bakery of Desporte's bakery on the point."
They are the symbols of broken dreams. Bricks from 360 destroyed coast homes and business now have new life as part of Diaz's newly built store.
"Each one of these bricks represent the water. These two rows represent the water line during the height of Katrina."
Diaz lost his business, OD's Thrift Package Store, and his home in the storm. He says it was important to him to rebuild in a way that paid tribute to what the coast has been through.
"I had to have history in it because I figure if we have another within the next 30 years, I wanted my grandchildren and my great grandchildren to be able be able to say look, this is how deep the water was here," says Diaz.
For 35 years Diaz worked at his store on Third Avenue then went home to his house on Boney Avenue. Now work is where home once stood.
"The house was already destroyed so we decided to put the business here and build the home somewhere else later," says Diaz. "It's kind of strange to be able to come back every morning to open a business where we used to live here, and this is where all our children grew up. I'm tickled to death to be able to carry on the tradition of doing business in the city of D'Iberville. "
Diaz says the D'Iberville community has continued to stand by him through all the ups and downs.
Diaz says, "All my old customers are coming back. And I'm so happy to see them, and I think they're happy to see me."
Diaz says the two main obstacles in getting his store built over the past 10 months have been the difficulty in finding materials and workers.
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