Lake Charles residents scrambling to prepare for Hurricane Delta

Erica Simon Image
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Lake Charles scrambling to prepare for Hurricane Delta
People prepared Wednesday to once again flee the state's barrier islands and moved boats to safe harbor while emergency officials are ordering evacuations.

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana (KTRK) -- The clock is ticking and time is running out before Hurricane Delta inches closer to the Gulf.

On Wednesday evening, Calcasieu Parish issued a mandatory evacuation order, which includes the city of Lake Charles.

Category 4 Hurricane Laura devastated the small southwest Louisiana city in late August, and Louisiana saw heavy flooding from Tropical Storm Cristobal in June.

READ MORE: A look at the aftermath from Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles and Cameron

Watch this SkyEye video tour of the damage in the Lake Charles and Cameron areas of Louisiana.

"We're bearing down at the mercy of Mother Nature again," said Lake Charles resident Robert Colston, Jr., a landlord with several properties in the area.

Stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's were filled with customers as people loaded up on plywood, sheetrock and any other materials they could find to protect their homes.

"This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime deals," said Colston, Jr. "The chance of you getting hit by a hurricane within a 60-day period is unlikely to happen, but it probably will happen."

So far, Louisiana has seen both major strikes and near misses.

The southwest area of the state around Lake Charles, which forecasts show is on Delta's current trajectory, is still recovering Hurricane Laura.

Nearly six weeks later, some 5,600 people remain in New Orleans hotels because their homes are too damaged to occupy.

Trees, roofs and other debris left in Laura's wake still sit by roadsides in the Lake Charles area waiting for pickup even as forecasters warned that Delta could be a larger than average storm.

Residents in the Fisherville neighborhood said this week feels like déja vu. They prepared heavily for Laura, but are still dealing with the impacts.

One man said it feels more like Baghdad than Louisiana.

Meanwhile, the Rideaux family told Eyewitness News they're simply happy to be alive. A tree near their home landed in the Rideaux yard during Laura. Plus, one of their vehicles was smashed by another nearby tree.

The family stayed in Katy for a month after Laura and are preparing to evacuate again.

"Praise the Lord. You know he left me here for a reason, I think," Mary Rideaux said. "We have to do it again. We have to. So, back to Houston we go."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.