Makenzie Trahan writes of her family’s Hurricane Rita experiences on shreds of blue tarp — commonly seen on damaged rooftops after the storm — that were on display Saturday during Hurricane Awareness Day events at the Lake Charles Civic Center. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, September 28, 2015 11:08 AMAs the crowd behind the Lake Charles Civic Center grew throughout the morning, Mayor Randy Roach described the day’s environment as unique. Saturday saw Hurricane Awareness Day and Emergency Responder Appreciation Day both being held on the Civic Center grounds, with the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Rita having taken place only days earlier.
Roach said it would be easy to consider the circumstances as coincidental, but he said it was something more than that.
“I think it happened for a reason,” he said. “We take for granted the job they do. We don’t think about all of the skill sets involved in being a first responder. This gives us an opportunity to show we appreciate them.”
The events for Emergency Responder Appreciation Day included educational stations and booths where personnel from different departments interacted with event-goers. The events for Hurricane Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Hurricane Museum & Science Center, included fun runs of varying lengths, a parade and numerous educational exhibits.
The crowd walking the Civic Center grounds included a large number of families with children. Roach said it showed that young people were interested in learning about hurricanes and the people who help communities recover from the storms. He went on to say the NHMSC will serve as a “true center of excellence” that will “inform and inspire” the young people in the area.
At one booth in the middle of the event, shreds of blue tarp, commonly seen on damaged rooftops after Hurricane Rita, were attached to a wall. People were allowed to post a piece of the tarp on the wall and write a message about their experiences during and after Rita. One of the youngest authors seen at the wall was Makenzie Trahan.
She wrote about the experiences of her family and how they had to live in a trailer after the storm due to the severe flood damage to their home. She also wrote about her new school in Johnson Bayou. In the end, she said writing on the tarp was just something she felt she needed to do.
“It helped a lot getting to write that down,” she said. “Mine was all about when we came back after the storm and what happened. It helps getting to put all that down.”