“We know that some people are still rebuilding their homes… which may mean their evacuation plans need to change, unfortunately.”
LAFOURCHE PARISH, Louisiana — With hurricane season less than a month away, Gov. John Bel Edwards said now is the time to prepare.
But for people still recovering from Hurricane Ida, that’s the last thing they want to hear.
Eight months after Hurricane Ida, Christy Autin’s house still has no roof. Disputes over how his attic should be rebuilt have left the project in limbo so far. She hopes her family will be back in their house by Thanksgiving, but that means they’ll likely be spending the peak of hurricane season in an RV.
“I don’t know how much preparation we can do this year. It’s not really a priority,” said Autin.
She is not alone. Throughout the parishes of Lafourche and Terrebonne, there are campers and trailers set up outside the houses where people are still rebuilding. In many cases, people have moved in with family members while they are getting back on their feet. In any case, it changes the way they will prepare for the hurricane season in 2022.
“We know that some people are still rebuilding their homes after the previous two hurricane seasons, which may mean that their evacuation plans unfortunately have to change,” Governor Edwards said. “Maybe it’s unfair that we have to prepare and prepare, but we have to prepare and prepare.”
GOHSEP Director Casey Tingle encouraged everyone in Louisiana to check their evacuation plans, insurance coverage and restock their emergency supplies. She also stressed how important it is to check in with family and friends and make a plan to stay in touch after a storm.
“The actions you take now could protect you and your family and speed recovery after a storm,” Tingle said.
Austin’s family was evacuated for Hurricane Ida, but this year they plan to evacuate even for the small storms they used to weather back home.
“Before, we would have stayed, but now we don’t really have that option because I wouldn’t come out of the storm in an RV,” Autin said. “To the best of our abilities, we’d pack up what we could and get out of here.”
Autin said she was worried about what she would find when they returned. Not just at home, but throughout the community.
“I don’t think our home would hold up and I would be a little nervous about what would be left of our community at that point. Because you’re just starting to see new signs of life and different things opening up and doing it again, it’s disheartening and discouraging, so I don’t know if I could stay through that.
Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends November 30. Louisiana has experienced five hurricanes in the past two years, including the two most powerful to make landfall in Louisiana history.
Colorado State University forecasters predict 19 named storms in the Atlantic this season, nine of which will become hurricanes and four of which will become major hurricanes.
For more information on preparing for hurricane season, visit GetAGameplan.org