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Coastal Louisiana residents brace for Hurricane Laura

Posted at 3:48 PM, Aug 25, 2020

In what is normally quiet Cajun country, the sound of shoveling sand rises above all else right now.

“Just filling a few sandbags to make sure that we get any water intrusion through the doorways of house,” said Joe Soudelier, who was filling 28 sandbags in Morgan City, Louisiana.

In this region of the state known as Acadiana, there are worries about water coming in courtesy of Hurricane Laura.

There are many shrimp trawlers visible along the Louisiana coast. About an hour west of Morgan City, people in Iberia Parish, and in other nearby parishes make a living off the water. Now, though, the water that supports their livelihood is a potential threat to their lives.

Storm surge along the Louisiana coast could be more than 10 feet in spots. Coupled with strong winds, they are dual concerns with Hurricane Laura.

Still, many here won’t evacuate, like Shannon Zeringue, who lives in a trailer.

“It’s been there for like 30 years,” she said. “Kind of sunk in the ground. So, I think I'll be okay.”

There are shelters open for residents, but Zeringue worries about exposure to the coronavirus. She is counting on sandbags for protection and said she regrets the last time she evacuated.

“One year we left and we spent all kind of money going and doing everything and it was like - it was just a waste of money,” Zeringue said. “We could’ve just stayed. And makes it hard for people who don't have money like that to try to evacuate.”

Really, though, it is about people taking care of each other in this area where Cajun bonds are strong.

“People help each other out every time there's a situation like this,” said resident Al Richard. “And they all give a helping hand to everybody."

That was something witnessed first hand, as Soudelier came over to help him.

“Everybody helps clean up, pick up and get back to normalcy,” Richard said, “and then we appreciate each other after it’s all over.“

It is an ending they are already looking forward to with Hurricane Laura.