Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hurricane Audrey

from Stories of Bayou Life
Hurricane Audrey, 1957, Cameron, Louisiana.

Water and more water

 It was June of 1957. We had evacuated to the one building in town that seemed sturdy enough to withstand the winds and water that were quickly coming ashore the small southwest Louisiana town.

 The water came in, not with a crashing blow, but swiftly and with purpose, lifting houses from their foundations, ripping propane tanks from their anchors, and shooing people from their homes like they were mere ants. And the water kept coming.

 Houses floated by with people on the roofs, shouting for someone to help them. People floated by on mattresses, waving and crying. No one in our building could help them. We had no way to reach them from the third floor where we were all stranded at the mercy of Mother Nature…or God.

 It would be 24 hours before the water receded, leaving an unimaginable pile of mud, upside down houses, cars parked on top of each other, and even boats in trees. We were still stranded, as power lines lay like one of those games kids played on the school ground, where they made designs between their fingers with a piece of string.

 Food was brought in by men that were brave enough to go out and loot the demolished grocery stores. We finally  had something in our stomachs, since we’d arrived with no thought of having to bring something to eat, but merely to save our lives.

 Another day passed, when we were herded out of the building like cattle on their way to slaughter, over ramps that had been placed over the debris for our safety.

 It would be a long time before the town of Cameron, Louisiana would repopulate, and the citizens that survived there in 1957 would get back on their feet. But come back they did, with only the help of family and friends, they came back strong.

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