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Category 4 Hurricane Laura takes aim at southwest Louisiana

Posted at 4:18 PM, Aug 26, 2020

The skies started darkening over Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Wednesday, as Hurricane Laura trekked toward the state.

People planning to hunker down at home raced to a local home supply store.

“My wife didn't want to travel this time,” said resident Robert Deboest. “So, we decided to go head on and kind of stick it out.”

That includes Adam Johnson, who was busy buying plywood to cover the windows of his home.

“It was like $24 a sheet,” he said.

Johnson moved to the Lake Charles area several years ago from Colorado. Laura will be the first hurricane he experiences.

“[The] duplex I live in was built in 2015, so it should be pretty secure,” Johnson said.

Others, though, feel far less secure.

“I was going to stay because I didn’t have nowhere to go,” said resident Yvonne Lancto.

However, local officials made arrangements at the Burton Coliseum Complex in Lake Charles for anyone wanting to evacuate, with the National Guard and dozens of buses ready to carry evacuees out of the danger zone and to shelter.

Just a few days before her 77th birthday, Lancto chose to flee the storm.

“I feel more safer now (sic),” she said, shortly before boarding a bus, “Because I was gonna have to drive - I was scared.”

What is scaring a lot of people in Lake Charles is not just the potential for Category 4 winds from Hurricane Laura, but massive storm surge, especially along the coast – which can easily swamp the first floor of a building.

Paul and Wanda Bertrand said that is why they are getting out of their home in coastal Cameron Parish.

“I’m ready to get back you know,” Paul Bertrand said. “I just left and I’m ready to get back already.”

His wife, Wanda, said their lives were far more important and hopes that evacuating will only be temporary.

“Hopefully, this will be over soon,” she said, “and we can get back home and everything will be like it was normal.”

It’s a normalcy that Hurricane Laura will put to the test.