HOUSTON – Renee Lavine, a KPRC 2 photojournalist who grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, shared what it was like watching her hometown get battered by Hurricane Laura, which came ashore just south of the city.
Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwestern Louisiana around 1 a.m. Thursday as a Category 4 hurricane.
Lavine is among the KPRC 2 crew members stationed along the Louisiana reporting on Laura.
“I’m kind of nervous,” Lavine said. “My shift starts back at 7 a.m., but it’s like how can I sleep? This is my hometown, you know. I’m worried. I’m anxious. I went to my parent’s house, taped some windows and fixed a bowl of gumbo that’s still in the fridge. I just couldn’t even eat the whole bowl because I was just anxious.”
Lavine said many of her relatives evacuated Lake Charles ahead of the storm.
“My mom and dad both evacuated,” Lavine said. “They’re actually at my place right now in Houston. It’s kind of weird coming back to nothing really because all my family, friends and cousins, they’re all gone.”
Lavine said she was worried about those in her hometown who stayed behind.
“I know a couple of people who have stayed behind,” Lavine said. “There’s a neighbor on my street that stayed. A couple of people that my brother knows that are sick and like wheelchair-bound. They waited too late to get out so I’m just really anxious, just worried about people.”
Lavine said she’s witnessed many storms throughout her time living in Lake Charles and even after, as a photojournalist.
“Rita was very similar with the path and the rain whipping through,” Lavine said. She continued, “I’m feeling like this is going to be very similar to Rita’s damage.”
Lavine’s parents evacuated from Lake Charles to Houston ahead of Laura’s landfall. By coincidence, relatives of Erica Young, a producer at KPRC 2, evacuated from Cameron Parish to Lake Charles. Young recounted her family’s experiences living through Hurricane Rita, which are reminiscent of what they’re going through again amid Laura’s arrival on the Gulf coast. Watch Young’s full interview here.
Renee gave KPRC 2 Anchors Kris Gutierrez and Dominque Sachse an update on how her family was affected by Hurricane Laura Thursday evening. Watch her update below: