LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. — With hurricane season less than a month away, Gov. John Bel Edwards said that now is the time to prepare.
But for people still rebuilding from Hurricane Ida, that’s the last thing they want to hear.
Eight months after Hurricane Ida, Christy Autin’s home still doesn’t have a roof. Disputes over how her attic needs to be rebuilt have left the project in limbo until now. She hopes that her family will be back in their home by Thanksgiving, but that means they’ll likely spend the peak of hurricane season in a camper.
"I'm not sure how much prep we'll be able to do this year. It's not really a focus," Autin said.
She’s not alone. All over Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, there are campers and trailers set up outside homes where people are still rebuilding. In many cases, people have moved in with their family members while they get back on their feet. In any case, it changes how they’ll prepare for hurricane season in 2022.
“We know some people are still in the process of rebuilding their homes following the previous two hurricane seasons, which may mean their evacuation plans need to change, unfortunately,” Gov. Edwards said. “It’s unfair perhaps that we have to prepare and get ready, but we have to prepare and get ready.”
GOHSEP Director Casey Tingle encouraged everyone in Louisiana to check their evacuation plans, insurance coverage and restock their emergency supplies. She also emphasized how important it is to check in with your family and friends and make a plan to keep in touch after a storm.
“The steps you take now could keep you and your family safe and speed up recovery after a storm,” Tingle said.
Autin’s family evacuated for Hurricane Ida, but this year they plan on evacuating even for smaller storms that they’d usually ride out in their home.
"Before we would have just stayed, but now we don't really have that option because I wouldn't ride out the storm in a camper," Autin said. "To the best of our ability we would pack up what we could and get out of here."
Autin said she’s worried about what she’ll find when they come back though. Not just at her home, but in the whole community.
“I don’t think our house would withstand and I would be kind of nervous about what would be left of our community at that point. Because your just starting to see new signs of life and different things opening and to do that again it’s discouraging and disheartening so I don’t know if I could stay through it.”
The Atlantic Hurricane season officially starts on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Louisiana has experienced five hurricanes in the past two years, including the two strongest to make landfall in Louisiana history.
Forecasters from Colorado State University predict 19 named storms in the Atlantic this season, with nine of them becoming hurricanes and four of them becoming major hurricanes.
For more information on preparing for hurricane season, visit GetAGameplan.org