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Residents begin the long recovery process from Hurricane Laura

Posted at 3:43 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 23:12:26-04

Leonard Harrison tells everyone he meets to call him by his nickname, Country.

“We've come to Lake Charles to see who we can help,” he said.

Country came with "Goliath," his personal high-water vehicle, which can make its way through 5 feet of water and into areas hit hard by storms.

“When I come in, I can literally rescue 18 at once, get everybody in the truck and drive them all out," he said. "Get them to safety and get back in and get 18 more."

He’s part of the U.S. Veterans Corps and drove 14 hours from his home in North Carolina to support the so-called Cajun Navy, a nonprofit group of boat owners who began rescuing people after Hurricane Katrina.

“That's what the Cajun Navy is known for,” he said.

Now, they’re here for hurricane Laura, with storm damage that residents in this corner of Louisiana are just coming to grips with.

There are some things that don’t mix: hurricanes, trees, and power lines. The damage is all over southwest Louisiana and it could be weeks before some people get their power back.

Yet, that isn’t stopping some residents like Deitrick Broussard from trying to see if they can come back before then.

“I was trying to rush and come and see the damage,” Broussard said, who evacuated with his pregnant wife.

We followed Broussard as he looked around his home for the first time since Hurricane Laura hit.

His relief was palpable.

“I thought it was going to be worse,” Broussard said. “I don’t see any damage. I'm happy, so far. I just don't know what's inside there. But, yeah I'm happy it stood up. That’s great.”

For many, though, getting back up on their feet will take a while. The long clean-up process is only just beginning.