NEW ORLEANS -- Five years ago many in the metro area were still without power after Hurricane Gustav roared across south Louisiana. It was the area's first real storm test after Hurricane Katrina, and it had many fearing the worst.
Gustav made landfall in Cocodrie. Days before, forecasters feared it would give New Orleans a direct hit.
Once a powerful category four storm, Gustav came on shore a category two, and left more than $4 billion worth of damages in its path.
“I guess the winds were probably 75 miles per hour plus,” said Louisiana State Police Lt. Gregg Falgout.
He had been riding out the storm at Troop C headquarters in Gray, La. Even before the height of the storm, the back of the building collapsed.
“It just pumped the water straight into the building,” he said.
They had to wait to patch the hole, all the while clearing the roads to try and get emergency crews in to Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
Mark McDonald would've been thankful to do yard work in Thibodaux five years ago, like he was doing on Monday across from Thibodaux High School.
“We actually evacuated to Mississippi. And I was one of the first ones back because I do disaster relief catering. And we actually went and catered in Belle Chasse at the high school,” McDonald said.
Five years ago, the Thibodaux High School parking lot was full of cars, all lined up waiting to get supplies from FEMA that the La. National Guard was distributing.
But the supplies were slim.
“The reality is the state police has offered them escorts,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2008 after assessing the problems with ice and MRE’s in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
All of the FEMA supplies were slow to trickle in, leaving some residents sweltering in Lafourche. Some didn’t regain power for a month.
Baton Rouge was hit even harder, with more damage to their power system. Jindal has said Gustav changed the way FEMA pre-positions assets before storms.
It’s one lesson learned from a storm that many won't soon forget.
Gustav is blamed for more than 150 deaths in the US and the Carribean.