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Where will Hurricane Ida victims be a year from now? Look to Lake Charles

"I think that's a travesty and I think it's an egregious glaring embarrassment on a national level."
Credit: WWLTV

Dilapidated, destroyed and abandoned were the words used to describe the city of Lake Charles, which is still recovering from Hurricane Laura a year later.

Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana in August of 2020 making landfall in Cameron parish. The storm carried winds of 150 mph only seven miles shy of becoming a category 5 storm.

LSU student Meredith Owen said the situation was unreal and worse than what she thought.

"Our house still has a massive hole in the ceiling," Owens said.

It was said that the damage and destruction left behind in southwest Louisiana from Laura is similar to the trail of damage in southeast Louisiana from the most recent storm — Hurricane Ida.

"We really thought, for a two-hour window when the eye was over us, that we were not going to make it" said LSU junior Dena Vial.

Much like in cities impacted by Hurricane Ida, debris from the storm is still very noticeable around Lake Charles, as well as the untouched buildings with blown-out windows still boarded up. 

"From the public side of it, with our FEMA reimbursement, we feel that maybe 25 percent complete. However on the private side we are probably less than that because of the lack of supplemental aid," Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said. 

The supplemental disaster aid Mayor Hunter referred to is the "Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery" that supplied $9 million after Hurricane Katrina and $650 Million after the 2016 flood, but Lake Charles reportedly didn't receive anything after four natural disasters:

  • Hurricane Laura
  • Hurricane Delta
  • 2021 freeze
  • 2021 flood

"I think that's a travesty and I think it's an egregious glaring embarrassment on a national level," said Mayor of Lake Charles, Nic Hunter. 

At the moment, Southwest Louisiana said they will do what they can to help southeast Louisiana in terms of recovery efforts.  

Mayor Huner said that soon southeast Louisiana will eventually move into long-term recovery but will be facing many of the same issues that Lake Charles has experienced.