LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's much different here than it was a year ago. The people of lower Cameron were no where near home. Hurricane Ike had come ashore, bringing massive storm surge while most took on damage.
But no one lost faith. Gathering one year later, the congregation of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church remembered Ike's anniversary.
"It's been long awaited that we are actually are able to celebrate," said Stephanie Rodrigue.
"It's been a wonderful day and good experience for all of us. I'm glad everybody's putting out all the effort they had to make this nice as it has been," said Madge Reina.
"We could also look back and thank God no matter what we've been through. We can be here to say thanks be to God and we can also pray to move forward," said Richard Adiukwu.
Voices of praise filled the church in what they're calling a celebration as life in lower Cameron gets better.
"It's hard to believe that just a year ago we had once again suffered that loss, experience that chaos, the devastation, and that feeling in your heart," said Heidi Baccigalopi.
"It's quite distressing to come back to damage and destruction. That's the part that I think was most incomprehensible about Ike," said Rodrigue.
Residents of Cameron Parish prayed and shared memories of Ike's year anniversary. Since the storm, they've had to recover, and as each day passes by, their stronger together.
"True admirer of our leaders in our community, schools, neighborhoods, the parish, business leaders, and the governmental leaders that have helped to get this parish back on it's feet and get it going," said Baccigalopi.
"The resiliency of the people is really great that they can come back after each storm. It's not easy they've been through them, they can still come back and want to be in this area to rebuild so we thank God," said Adiukwu.
They've been through a lot and they've stuck together. For that they can be proud as they continue to rebuild their homes and their community they love so much.