After two years there are still approximately 700 homes in Bridge City that have not been dealt with since Hurricane Ike according to Jeff Parrent, president of L.T.C. Professional Builder, Inc.

Parrent came to Bridge City at the end of September in 2008 after the hurricane and is still here.

He went home, to the Dallas area in the middle of May. “I just went home for 30 days because I hadn’t been there in two years, other than a couple days at a time,” said Parrent.
L.T.C. has become a permanent fixture in Bridge City and plans to stay as long as there is work.

“I plan on having a north Texas division and a south Texas division, that was my plan after about six months when I came to Bridge City; and that’s still the plan.”  So far, L.T.C has remodeled and repaired (some from the ground up) 65 residential properties and six commercial projects. “We did City Hall, the library, public works, community center and a couple more city projects.”

 “The economy, you know it’s no surprise to anyone, the economy is really bad…it makes it tough to keep up the overhead for both offices if there is not work to sustain it. So that’s my struggle, I hate to commit to [staying in Bridge City] right now. I’m willing, my desire is there, but I don’t know if I can afford to keep both [offices]; as long as there is work, sure.”

Parrent says right now he is more fortunate than some. “I’ve always been blessed, I’ve never ever been out of work–never. God has always blessed us.” In fact, the L.T.C. stands for Look To Christ. “I just expect that to continue. But I know as I continue to look around, there’s a lot of people in this same ministry that don’t have work.”

“We was able to minister and help a lot of people in this area through our gifts that we have. There’s several, a lot of people in need and we were able to help them without having our hand out. You know, we’re thankful for that,” said Parrent. “It was just a blessing for us to be able to do that. We helped several families get back in their home, cause otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to.”

Currently, Parrent’s company is doing an “Extreme Makeover” for Charles and Gwen Atkinson who purchased a home from a widow, Marie Black. “Mrs. Black and her husband built the house in 1967 and lived here for 41 years, 42 years, then Ike came. She’s now living in Beaumont in a retirement home and she love’s it.” Parrent said Mrs. Black handpicked Charles and Gwen to purchase the home. “They go to church together and because of all the live oaks and the history of this house and the land, [Black] didn’t want anybody to have it, so she picked Charles and Gwen. They made an agreement and they bought the house.”

Parrent stripped the house to the stud walls and now is in the process of rebuilding the home. He said he hopes to have the Atkinson’s in their new home by January.

Is there still lots of work in Bridge City? “I say there is and I know that probably contradicts what other people believe.” Parrent said, “I believe in my heart there are a lot of homes like Mrs. Black’s home and there are a lot of couples like the Atkinsons that just waited. There’s 3,400 homes that were affected and I believe that about 80 percent have either moved or rebuilt. If there’s 20 percent, that’s almost 700 homes that still need something done, bulldoze ‘em, fix ‘em, repair ‘em, sell ‘em, I don’t know, but there are still 700 homes and if you think about it…10 percent is 70.

Parrent said he would agree with the observation of Brad Morgan, minister of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Bridge City. Morgan said they have lost about 27 older members, but young families with children are moving in. “You bet I agree. Yeah, we’ve already had a handful of people stop and ask us if this house is for sale. We’ve only been here less than a month, but there is interest… A couple of them were young couples.”

Across the street is the home of Doris Connor, Gwen Atkinson’s best friend. Parrent rebuilt her home and the home of Atkinson’s daughter, Christi Quarles. It was only natural they would recommend him to the Atkinsons. He has quickly built a reputation in Bridge City for the quality of his work. “The Lord gave me a lotta favor in this town and I’m very thankful for it, for sure.” He adds, “We worked hard too,…and took care of every single customer, every single homeowner in this town. We’re thankful for that, we really are.”

Currently, besides the Atkinson’s home, they are working on two others.

If you would like to contact Parrent for possible work on your home, you can call (877) 365-3505 toll free, cell (940)390-7216 or by e-mail:

By the way, he sings too.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.