********NOTE THIS IS PERSONAL RECOLLECTION NOT A CURRENT STORM**************
As the Storm Approached September 23, 2005
Everywhere you go people are talking about Hurricane Rita. Lake Charles city officials, law enforcement and Calcasieu Parish Emergency staff are all keeping a close eye on the storm and as it draws closer taking a lesson from Katrina, the news begins to encourage residents to leave. The forecast is not looking good, hurricane trackers predict Lake Charles, LA could be in for a direct hit.
Reaction to the news is mixed, not many residents have been through a Category 5 storm and it has been years since Hurricane Audrey hit Cameron Louisiana in 1957 but the older folks remember the devastation. It doesn't take long before a noticeable increase in traffic at the hardware stores picks up as homeowners purchase materials to board up their homes.
The water cooler talk at work is all about where are you going and when are you leaving??? The local news station, radio stations and newspapers are staying on top of it and pretty soon its not a choice anymore, officials issue a "mandatory evacuation".
Restaurants are closed, signs in the windows of business "left town for Rita" traffic is increasing with lots of movement within Lake Charles. Many people are dismissed from their jobs, sent home by their employers to evacuate with their family. Lake Charles becomes an uninhabited ghost town. All of a sudden I feel like I am in a scene from The Ten Commandments where the Israelites leave Egypt in a hurry before they are swallowed up by the Red Sea! We are like Paul McCartney's Band on the Run and as the song says "we may never get outta here"
That raises the next question......where do you run to????
Because the Gulf Coast is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, destinations in Mississippi and Alabama are not exactly an option. As I watch my co-workers and neighbors discuss their evacuations to Shreveport, Dallas, Austin and Little Rock, AR I begin to think where in the world am I going to go? Not to mention that I have 3 Pomeranians and a Golden Retriever! You can't exactly share a trailer with your friends or a hotel room with 4 dogs, this was a dilemma!
- Gas is another problem, as the exodus of Calcasieu Parish is in full swing, gas stations begin to run out of gas!
- Oh and did I mention my husband is on a new job in Florida so I am ALONE with 4 dogs !!
What do you take with you ?
How Long Will You Be Gone?
No one can answer how long this trip is going to be! I have not been through Hurricane Preparedness 101 Class! I quickly came up with the 4 P's in a short amount of time.
- Protection = GUN
There you have it, YES I am a gun packing Momma (I grew up in Oklahoma and Arkansas)! Don't mess with me I know how to use a fire arm!!
Dogfood, Water, pillows, blankets
- Plastic tubs
I unload the file cabinet and begin to fill plastic totes with important documents and precious family heirlooms.
Time is of the essence you don't want to pack. Do you grab the family silver, your mink coat, pack up your crystal wine glasses? I do the best I can and lock up and leave our home!
Riding in the car along I-10 was an interesting experience. Did I mention it was HOT in September?? I passed cars out of gas, cars that had overheated, and crawled at a very S-L-O-W pace on I-10 exiting Lake Charles. What is usually a 45 minute trip to Lafayette, LA where I am headed, took 3 1/2 hours it was bumper to bumper traffic. Traveling with 3 pomeranians and a 85 lb golden retriever in a 2 door Honda Coupe is cramped!
Stay tuned and follow my adventure remembered as I continue my blog Five Years Later Remembering Rita.