City leaders reflect on Gustav 1 year later

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Today marks the one year anniversary for Hurricane Gustav.

Gustav ripped through the Gulf Coast on September 1, 2008.

This hurricane called for an evacuation of 1.8 million people across the Gulf Coast.

This was the largest hurricane evacuation in United States history.

Today city leaders in the lake area reflect on the impact Hurricane Gustav had here in the lake area.

"This was a unique storm," says Randy Roach, mayor of Lake Charles. "As it was coming to Louisiana it crossed in from east to west, and so we were very concerned about the projected path of the storm."

Through these recollections, Mayor Roach says he and other Calcasieu Parish representatives are making plans focusing on when Louisiana residents should evacuate.

"We don't take this decision lightly," says Mayor Roach. "When we look at these situations we also get input from the state, we talk with the forecasters, and then we decide what to do."

Dick Gremillion, director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says while evacuations went smoothly for Hurricane Gustav, the sheltering process was quite the opposite.

"The shelters were not prepared like they should have been," says Gremillion. "In some cases they were stocked poorly and some of the planning had not gone the way it should have gone."

This hurricane season the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency preparedness plans to better prepare through point to point sheltering strategies.

Although it may seem like it is late in the hurricane season, Gremillion says this is the time when everyone should take the most precaution.

Gremillion says this is the point in the hurricane season where hurricanes often come with little or no warning.

The OEP urges everyone to keep a hurricane kit handy and to always have hurricane plans in case if disaster were to strike.

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