LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana (KTRK) -- As confidence grows in the path of Hurricane Laura, southwest Louisiana appears to be in the direct path of the worst of the storm.
Authorities in Lake Charles didn't wait to order everyone out of the area. Mandatory evacuations were ordered Tuesday for Calcasieu Parish, which impacted more than 200,000 residents. Neighboring Cameron Parish to the south is also under a mandatory order.
As the populations of Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes began to leave, those who couldn't get out on their own took a bus.
At least 400 people were transported away from the region by bus in a herculean effort only compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When you walk in, we have everybody spaced out," medical reserve corps director Angela Jouett said. "That has really changed the whole focus of the way we've done things."
Residents gathered at a Lake Charles event venue before getting on board the buses that headed to Alexandria and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The same region was cleared 15 years ago before Hurricane Rita arrived, which was the largest evacuation in Louisiana's history at the time.