LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. — LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. - People will remember Ida for different reasons. For one woman, the storm will always be a reminder of the strangers who helped bring her and her unborn child to safety.
Kamie Tatum was nine months pregnant the night Ida hit. As winds and rain whipped around outside, she just hoped everything would be okay.
"If I have this baby now, what am I going to do because I don't like driving in the rain, much less a major storm," she said.
However, the mom-to-be started having contractions, and had no option but to go to the hospital.
"The weather finally subsided," she said. "I didn't know if there'd be a second wind because we lost all cell service, there's no news I didn't know if the storm was over or if we were in the eye. If I needed to go, I needed to go now. It was still windy outside, it wasn't like hurricane-force winds, but it was still windy, rainy, it was dark and there were no lights."
She made it to LA1, but a massive tree had fallen, and blocked the road.
"I was all alone," she recalls. "I've never felt so helpless in my entire life and all I could do was cry and cry. And then I saw blue and red lights, and my eyes lit up like it was Christmas."
Coincidentally, Lafourche Parish Sheriff, Craig Webre, and about 20 deputies were also stuck trying to cut through the same tree. They had driven three hours from Lockport, and were headed to the Kraemer area to help with rescues there.
"(Earlier) I happened to be monitoring social media and we received frantic pleas and cries for help from the Kraemer community that their levee system had been overtopped," he said. "It was still too treacherous to respond and this was one of those good examples of a rescue mission where you only take volunteers."
The sheriff and a group got on the pitch black roads and began driving to Thibodaux.
"At 9:30 we left in about five or six trucks with chainsaws, wire cutters, cables, chains, you name it," he said. "We started to make our way to Thibodaux from Lockport. Of course, it was totally dark at this point. There was no power anywhere so you couldn't advance very quickly. Every 100 or so yards there was a tree down. Some of them you could drive around, but most often we'd jump out and we had 10-15 chainsaws and we'd start cutting."
Fast forward several hours, and they were now faced with a massive tree blocking all lanes of travel. It's there where they'd meet Tatum.
"So the group is feverishly working and we discover there's a civilian in a small, 4-door car in the midst of this in our caravan, Webre said. "At that point she was in tears, she was fighting the pains of labor."
As officers cleared the tree, a deputy stayed with Tatum to keep her calm. He eventually helped move her to the passenger seat so he could drive her to the hospital. Webre says when they removed the obstacle they escorted her with lights to the hospital, even alerting the staff there of her arrival.
Now, looking back, Webre believes his men were meant to be there.
"The fascinating thing to me about this story, is that as soon as we cleared her and the tree everything had stabilized in the Kraemer community, the water was no longer rising," he said. "The guys (already there) were telling us Code 4, which is a police term for everything is stable. "I've used this quote many times, it's a quote from Albert Einstein, and the quote is 'Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous,' and I Look at this situation and think 20 men with trucks and chainsaws, fought their way through a hurricane for three hours, and we got to a point where we intersected with this young lady who was in a dire situation. And if those cries from Kraemer never came, help would've never been there."
Tatum has since welcomed a healthy baby boy. And coincidence or not, she says she'll always be grateful to those heroes who came to her and her son's rescue.
"I do think everything happens for a reason and if you're at the right place at the right time," she said. "And those deputies were at the right place at the right time. I don't know what I would've done if they weren't there."
Tatum delivered her son a few days after the storm. She's now planning a way to thank the deputies in person for their help.