LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana – Less than 24 hours after Hurricane Laura devastated much of southeast Louisiana, thousands of residents in Lake Charles were left in the dark and struggling to make it back to their homes through tangles of trees, downed power lines and other debris.
“I’m just trying to clear a path to my mom’s house,” said Stephen Northcutt. “I can’t get to a straight path anywhere really. Everything’s got a tree in the way or a power line, either that or flooded.”
Northcutt is checking on several members’ homes. He is laying the groundwork to keep his family in touch with each other until power is restored.
“Honestly, I am just trying to get our houses opened up right now. So we can at least get to each other to communicate... I don’t have any cell service,” he said.
Almost every street in Lake Charles suffered some form of damage. Power lines were dragged down and tangled by large trees toppled by more than 100 mile-per-hour winds.
Hundreds of homes suffered damage ranging from the cosmetic to the devastating. Businesses were ripped apart. Windows were blown out leaving offices at the mercy of wind and rain. Large TV and radio tower came crashing down.
By late afternoon, many who live outside of Lake Charles still couldn’t get home to even assess what is left of their property.
“I have no way of knowing if the house is still there,” said Larry Conners.
Conners was helping his brother clean up debris around his home while he waited for clear roads to see if he has. For the third time, he could lose his home.
“I went through (Hurricane) Rita and lost it and had FEMA trailer and lost it and then now this,” he said.
There is dusk until dawn curfew is in effect in Lake Charles.
Police officers, sheriff’s deputies and national guardsmen are fanning throughout neighborhoods and along main roads to make sure no one takes advantage of this turmoil.