On Wednesday, Aug. 26, during Hurricane Laura, a large tree fell on and partially destroyed the Theta Xi fraternity house.
“One of the trees on the side of the house got uprooted because of the wind and the water loosened the soil,” Kevin Geraci, the president of the UL Lafayette Chapter of Theta Xi, said. "It fell on the house, destroying the roof pretty much completely and also allowing a fair amount of water to get into the central area of the house.”
The tree did major damage to the interior of the house as well.
All of the furniture, including multiple sofas, loveseats, recliners, tables and TV’s were all destroyed due to the water damage. Theta Xi might be able to salvage their pool table and foosball table, however. This is all on top of internal repairs that need to be done.
None of the fraternity members were injured. They had all evacuated before the storm, as they suspected the trees could pose a threat.
“When Laura came through we had all evacuated to friends’ houses for the storm. These trees are a danger,” Geraci said.
Geraci said he was shocked and heartbroken when he saw the damage.
“It was kind of unreal. This is my home away from home,” Geraci said. “This is a lot of my brothers in the organization’s home. This is where memories are made, and this is where a lot of their time is spent outside of the classroom. So to see it just demolished like this is heartbreaking and very difficult.”
Many Theta Xi members, however, have a brighter outlook now that the damage has been assessed.
“The organization’s attitude is surprisingly very positive right now. We started a GoFundMe and insurance is going to cover a lot of the costs,” he said. “It’s going to be a long process, but the organization still plans to be very active on campus.”
As of Aug. 29 at 6:20 p.m., Theta Xi has raised $7,159 through their GoFundMe called, “Repairing the Theta Xi Fraternity house at UL.” It has a $15,000 goal, and over 130 people have donated.
The GoFundMe details what happened, what was lost, and how they will use the money.
“Many items were destroyed by the tree/water. The organization has taken a huge blow both financially and emotionally. Anything will help,” the GoFundMe page reads. “The chapter intends to use the money to replace damaged contents and improve on the current condition of the house. Thank you all for the support.”