The Rigauts and their neighbors managed to escape with their lives. Yet three weeks after the storm, they say they still have not received any form of compensation.
"On top of all of this sadness, we are struggling with the insurance companies," said Rigaut, whose family is now holed up in a rental home in southern New Jersey.
Undeterred, they say they plan to pile into the car Thursday and head north, joining 13 other relatives for Thanksgiving dinner in Belle Harbor at her sister's storm-battered, though still functional, home.
"My sister was out buying air mattresses," she said. "It's going to be a little tight, sleeping like the Irish did after Ellis Island: 12 to a room!"
But with a daughter who is "borderline asthmatic," the Rigauts say they plan to stay only one night. What local residents call "the Rockaway dust" has them concerned.
Rotting drywall, mold and piles of garbage across the Rockaway Peninsula have residents worried about worsening air quality in the region, though officials were not immediately available to comment on the relatively new phenomenon.
A red sticker on the Rigauts' old front door signifies that the city has condemned the building and plans to demolish it. The remains of their home will now likely join the massive garbage heaps along the Rockaway shore, adding to potential health concerns.