Gustav Inflicts Major Damage to Louisiana

About Evergreen

Published September 4, 2008
The Carencro area (eight miles North of Lafayette) was out of power starting around noon on Monday, Sept. 1 until around noon today, Thursday, Sept. 4th.  We were fortunate that no one in the family was injured.  There is property damage, but those are things which can be replaced.  Many trees which I lost at home will have to be removed with special equipment. 
We chose to hunker-down and brave the storm at I connected my generator after the storm and it maintained a small window air-conditioner (for this purpose), the refrigerator and a small T.V. With some rotation, we will able to make coffee, read with a lamp, etc.  Sprinkled in with a lot of praying, the conditions were good - under the circumstances.  Computer access was not available.
With no land lines available, most communications were by cell phone.  However, before too long, these were over-loaded and reaching someone by cell phone was not possible.  I was to meet with the Evergreen Civic League in Evergreen Wednesday afternoon, but beginning Tuesday could not reach anyone by phone.    
The eye of Gustav did pass over our home, thus I have some damage from north/west winds and some from south/east winds, both in the 80-100 mph range.  What made Gustav different in some ways is that it continued to rain after the eye passed.  Tuesday it continued to rain off and on, as it did on Wednesday.  However, on Wednesday the rains were very hard at times and tornadoes were all around us (over 40 in the area).  Several touched down within five miles of our home.
Please note the picture of the basketball goal which now faces away from the cement court and is leaning slightly away from the court.  The ground around it has not been visibly disturbed, yet the goal was turned almost 180 degrees.  Installed in 1974, it has survived several powerful storms, but never anything like what Gustav offered. 
I am hopeful that Pelicans from other areas affected by Gustav will send some news so we might post it on the website.  Evangeline and Rapides parishes were both hit exceptionally hard with heavy rains and wind.  Eight parishes in Acadiana had over 90% of their power lost, some close to 100%.  News from some of the areas around Baton Rouge is not good.  Power there may not be restores for weeks instead of days.  Please keep them in your prayers.
The state experienced mandatory evacuations along the coast...Cameron, Vermilion, St. Mary, etc., and over 2 million people left the state.  New Orleans residents were offered train and buses to go out of town...some went as far away as Memphis.  Last Sunday, Marilyn and I  drove to I-49 (only one mile from my house) and watched the "contraflow" - where both North and South bound lanes were flowing North...sort of ere to watch.  You could get on, but not off until you were near Meeker in Rapides Parish. News reports of many of those people returning yesterday afternoon showed bumper to bumper traffic (sometimes stopped)...people running out of gas and not being able to find any.
Many parishes and towns established curfews...i.e.,Lafayette Parish for Monday and Tuesday...lifted on Wednesday.  The major justification given was to allow the power companies to work, but the real reason was to prevent the looting which occurred during Katrina.  It worked exceptionally well.  A few thieves were arrested and now have their hands full of problems.
Public officials worked extremely hard in advance of Gustav and are still working hard...President Bush (visited), Gov. Jindal (hands-on, 24/7, all over the state), local officials and community organizations.  Power companies have been giving reports once or twice a day on television and radio.  Needless to say, the state was prepared more for this hurricane than any other.  Power restoration is a tremendous challenge at this time.
Your prayers for those still experiencing problems as a result of Gustav are appreciated.
By Ed Dugas
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