HOUSTON – “I called my grandfather. He was in his house in Lake Charles in the interior bathroom. He’s scared. I’ve never heard my grandpa so scared.”
Erica Young, a producer at KPRC 2 and Louisiana native, recounted what it was like for her family during Hurricane Rita and compared it to now, as she relives the experience for a second time.
Hurricane Laura made landfall in Cameron, Louisiana, just 10 miles from where Young grew up.
For many who evacuated, the reality is, they could return home to find their homes have been flattened and the life that has been built for years has been wiped out in a matter of hours.
Young said most of her family lives in the area and their situation is no different.
“A lot (of my family members) have evacuated, which is unusual for Louisiana people,” Young said. “The people who are still in the area are saying there are power outages … Earlier in the text thread, they just said it was creepy out here. Like that feeling you get when a storm is coming.”
It is hard to think that people, much like her family, are going to come home to nothing. Lake Charles is feeling the effect, but as Young said, Laura pummeled Cameron Parish first.
“This is my hometown,” Young said. “(This is) where I went to high school. It’s just going to go through there and basically flatten it.”
Young said the homes in the area are old and are not built to withstand the force of a storm like Laura.
The house her grandfather built with his owns hands in among those, and while her grandparents may have passed away, it is still difficult to think that such a huge part of her childhood and family could be gone in the blink of an eye.
“One of my aunts said, ‘I am scared. I am going to go back, and my house isn’t going to be there,’” Young said. “… I mean, what can you say? What can you do?”
While losing a home is devastating, Young agreed that it is about survival and the most important thing is that you have your life.
“There were some moments where earlier in the week my dad was not going to evacuate and … that’s when it really hits you,” Young said. “I’m hearing the expert advice from Frank and everything that he’s telling us, and I have to somehow convey that to my dad … I am thankful he left because I am not sure I could have done my job.”
Young said she will likely be heading back to Louisiana over the weekend to help with damage. Her family has boasted for years that the land on which her grandfather’s house was built does not flood and it is “the best land in Grand Lake.”
She hopes that holds true now.
“We will need to see what that looks like. It is heartbreaking to know that is happening right now.”
Watch the full interview in the video above.