Kenneth Ardoin, a Lake Charles resident for 56 years, boarded up the windows on his home on Orchard Drive in preparation for Hurricane Isaac. These are the same boards that he used to protect his home during Hurricane Rita. (Anne Robicheaux / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 12:33 PM
Most of Lake Charles may have dodged a bullet with regard to Hurricane Isaac, but don’t get too comfortable: Hurricane season’s not over yet.
Dick Gremillion, director of the Calcasieu Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said, “We have a couple more months of hurricane season, and typically, if our area is going to get a hurricane, it is this time of year. ... Hurricane Rita was at the end of September; Hurricane Lily was the first of October.
“Most of the hurricanes that have affected us have been in that mid-September to mid-October time period. Just because this one (Hurricane Isaac) didn’t quite make it to us does not mean that we shouldn’t be preparing for the next one that comes along.”
The message is clear: Protect and maintain your property.
Kenneth Ardoin, a Lake Charles resident for 56 years, is no stranger to hurricane preparedness. He boarded up the outside of his house Tuesday after winds from Tropical Storm Isaac (or, at the time, Hurricane Isaac) picked up.
“I already had (these boards) on hand. I went through (Hurricane) Rita with it,” Ardoin said.
When asked about the spray-painted writing on the boards, Ardoin commented, “Originally, it said on the from doors ‘It is another day,’ and that was after I’d been cleaning up after (Hurricane) Rita. A lot of the boards are marked (with numbers) so I know where they go.”
Ardoin said he spent three days cleaning up branches after Hurricane Rita hit the Lake Charles area, and as of Thursday the only damage he had yet experienced was a few fallen tree limbs and some leaves in his yard. He said he will likely take down the boards soon, but if another hurricane or tropical storm calls, he will put them back into place. In addition to boarding up his house, Ardoin also stocked up on bottled water and had a generator on standby.
Gremillion urged homeowners to remain prepared throughout hurricane season by having evacuation and communication plans and providing for medical needs ahead of time. He also suggested visiting the following web sites for tips on emergency preparedness: Calcasieu Parish Police Jury (http://cppj.net/index.aspx?page=121), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (ready.gov) and American Red Cross (redcross.org).
If homeowners have extensive damage (i.e. downed trees, structural damage to the home, including damage to the roof, siding and walls, or damage to vehicles) Gremillion said the first call homeowners should make is to their insurance company. However, if there is an emergency situation, dial 911 first instead.
Gremillion said that there are four utility companies that provide service to the Lake Charles area: Entergy, Cleco, Beauregard Electric Co-Op and Jeff Davis Electric Co-Op. Gremillion said to find out who your service provider is, so that you can call them in case of a power outage.
If homeowners have debris — leaves, tree limbs or roof shingles — accumulate in their yard after a storm, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury generally asks people to bring the debris to the roadside for pickup while being careful not to block any ditches near their home. For those outside of Calcasieu Parish, Gremillion recommends checking with your parish’s Police Jury to see how to correctly dispose of debris.
Mister Edwards, Public Works director for Lake Charles, said that tree limbs no thicker than 4 inches in diameter and no longer than 4 feet will be picked up by the city’s garbage trucks, but for larger debris, garbage truck operators can call in to schedule a cherry picker truck to pick up the debris or homeowners can schedule a pickup themselves by calling 337-491-1220.
“For the larger piles, what we normally do — even during normal times or after a storm — is (if) our garbage trucks on our routes... see a large pile, then it would be deemed a cherry picker pile. They dispatch that back to our dispatcher... and we dispatch cherry pickers that day or the following day to take care of those larger piles that our hand crews cannot take care of during our regular daily run,” Edwards said.