Remembering My First Hurricane Experience in Lake Charles
June 1 was the official first day for Hurricane season and for many of us in the media, this is just another task on our list of things to prepare for. With Tropical Storm Cristobal currently churning in the Gulf of Mexico, we are on standby for anything that we need to do for the community and the public.
I have been in Lake Charles now since 2001, and I can remember my first experience with a hurricane. As a matter of fact, I was wondering whether or not I had made the right career choice afterward. We watched in amazement as New Orleans had to deal with the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. I remember watching the news and it seemed like a foreign country with so many people being stranded and dying. Many would say the people were not following orders. However, many simply were not financially able to leave and many were traumatized over what was happening.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, and Lake Charles had our own problem with Hurricane Rita. I remember all of the staff getting together in a huddle for a plan on how we would move forward for our listeners. We stocked up on supplies of food and drinks and sand bags just in case. My wife was in a frenzy and panicking, which was understandable, and she wanted me to be with them. While I understood my commitment to my job, my family is my first love, and seeing how my son and wife were worried, I knew I couldn't let them go down that road alone. I remember packing our things and heading to stay with a family friend in Shreveport. The drive took twelve hours, and cars were being stranded on the side of the road due to lack of gas. It was like a scene from a movie and there is no way this was happening here at home.
I remember coming back after about a week and a half and seeing the city empty. Walmart was closing at four in the afternoon and there were not many restaurants at all. Things slowly started to bounce back, but it wasn't immediate and it really brought the community together, as many were helping one another.
With Cristobal in the Gulf, I really hope Louisiana can be spared, and that this hurricane season won't be as devastating as previous ones. However, keep it locked here for the latest information on the weather as it pertains to SWLA as well as COVID-19 news with us daily on The People's Station 107 Jamz.
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