“It’s like when someone takes a beating when they already have black eyes. You don’t know if the black around his eye is from this time or the time before. “
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The metaphor is muscular, but it is the first that comes to mind of Agent Aymond, a policeman from the parish (equivalent of the Louisiana county) of Calcasieu, when he sees the debris littering the streets of the town of Lake Charles.
Laura, end of August, or Delta, Friday night? “Honestly I can’t tell you what came from which hurricane.”
The two hit the Louisiana coastline in roughly the same spot, and Delta broke a record by becoming the 10e storm of the year to reach the American coasts.
Six of these have, to varying degrees, affected Louisiana.
And even if the damage Delta do not seem to be so important (a few tiles blown up, streets and houses partially flooded), the inhabitants of the region are weary of all these evacuations, this stress, these blackouts. Especially in modest communities (Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the country) where people are already struggling to access healthcare and education.
“I was born and raised in Lake Charles, and I’ve never seen so many disasters. Two hurricanes in two months, ”sighs Brian Moore, 49.
Under the sun and the heat that followed the passage of Delta, this man is looking for gasoline for his generator. His old house was “totally destroyed” by Laura and he had just moved into his new home.
About twenty miles east, in a small town called Iowa, John Thibodeaux, whose name recalls French influence in the region, grills sausages on a charcoal barbecue for himself and his neighbors. The famous “Southern Hospitality” touted in the south of the country.
“It’s just the right thing to do. If you’re eating and no one else is eating, there’s a problem. Feed your neighbors too, ”he explains.
His eyes are tired, the man with the marked face has hardly slept all night.
“How do I feel? Like crap. If Mother Nature does this, she doesn’t have a good sense of humor. ”
For Laura, he had decided to go to a local hotel. But the establishment closed, too damaged by the passage of this hurricane at the end of August, and John Thibodeaux decided to stay Friday in his wooden house, typical of the region.
Obviously, his temporary repairs did not hold and torrential waters seeped into his home overnight.
But man wants to put it into perspective.
“After Laura, when I left the hotel and started driving around the neighborhood, it looked like a thermonuclear bomb had exploded! ”
“I already toured the neighborhood last night and it’s not as serious,” confirms Rob Gaudet, founder of the Cajun Navy.
This NGO spent the night, starting just three hours after the arrival of Delta, in the rain and in the wind, to look for people who had not been able to evacuate, often the poorest, to come to their aid.
In a shelter in the center of Lake Charles, they offer them shelter and makeshift shelter.
Robert Berard, 68, is one such person.
“I sent my mother to Baton Rouge to Laura. She’s still there. ” He insisted on staying to watch his business, for fear of looters.
The previous hurricane destroyed his house and he has since lived in a small adjacent building which was flooded overnight.
“I never want to relive that again, no one wants to relive that,” he says, still visibly shaken, but happy that the NGO gave him shoes, he who had arrived barefoot.
“Next time I will evacuate.”