Lake Charles city officials remember Hurricane Rita seven years - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles city officials remember Hurricane Rita seven years later

Posted: Updated:
  • More Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • Two people arrested after Sulphur hotel shooting

    Two people arrested after Sulphur hotel shooting

    Two people arrested after Sulphur hotel shooting

    Monday, July 28 2014 12:33 AM EDT2014-07-28 04:33:32 GMT
    Two people were arrested Saturday night in connection to a hotel shooting in Sulphur, one of whom was injured. According to Lake Charles police it's connected to a drive-by shooting that occurred on Friday afternoon.More >>
    Two people were arrested Saturday night in connection to a hotel shooting in Sulphur, one of whom was injured. According to Lake Charles police it's connected to a drive-by shooting that occurred on Friday afternoon. More >>
  • McNeese connects students to businesses in Southwest Louisiana

    McNeese connects students to businesses in Southwest Louisiana

    Sunday, July 27 2014 8:30 PM EDT2014-07-28 00:30:29 GMT
    (Source: MGN Online)(Source: MGN Online)
    McNeese State University is proving its connecting students to big business in Southwest Louisiana thanks to a grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The grant funds the second year of a five-year grant awarded to McNesse in 2013. University faculty said the grant will help solve local workforce issues through innovation. “The question people ask all the time is what is ...More >>
    McNeese State University is proving its connecting students to big business in Southwest Louisiana thanks to a grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The grant funds the second year of a five-year grant awarded to McNesse in 2013. University faculty said the grant will help solve local workforce issues through innovation. “The question people ask all the time is what is ...More >>
  • Major Police presence outside Super 8 Hotel in Sulphur

    Major Police presence outside Super 8 Hotel in Sulphur

    Saturday, July 26 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-07-27 03:58:20 GMT
    Several witnesses told us they heard what they thought were gunshots just before 9 o'clock. Shortly after, several Super 8 Hotel guests were told to evacuate. At least one person was taken away by ambulance, according to witnesses. There is no word on their injuries. More >>
    Several witnesses told us they heard what they thought were gunshots just before 9 o'clock. Shortly after, several Super 8 Hotel guests were told to evacuate. At least one person was taken away by ambulance, according to witnesses. There is no word on their injuries. More >>
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

City of Lake Charles Project Specialist Eligha Guillory remembers seven years ago when Hurricane Rita hit Southwest Louisiana as a Category 3 storm.

"We were working with a shelter from the guys that came out of New Orleans, we were working with them," he said. "We were preparing to shut that shelter down and evacuating ourselves." 

Not only was he preparing relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina which hit weeks before, he was preparing for his wedding which was just weeks away. 

"We had the house packed with decorations and flowers and different things and we had to shift gears a bit," Guillory said.  

Evacuating to Arkansas before his big day, the evacuation order was lifted just hours before the wedding. 

"Lift for people to come back in town was October the 7th so we came back on October the 7th and had our wedding on October the 8th," he said.

Lower Cameron Parish suffered the brunt of Rita's damage, serving as ground zero for the storm.  The only building to survive was the old courthouse. Now, seven years later, that community and all of the communities of southwest Louisiana are more resilient than ever. 

"How a community responds is going to be based on who the community really is," said Lake Charles Mayor, Randy Roach. "I think you can look back on those years and say that this community is a pretty special community."

While a catastrophic storm may not be something people want to remember, Roach said there is something valuable in recognizing anniversaries like this one.  

"I look back on the anniversary of Rita and it's not something that you want to celebrate and be glad it happened," he said. "I think what we're glad about and what we can be thankful for is the way in which we were able to respond."

With a "ready for anything that may come in the future," attitude as Dick Gremillion, Director of the Calcasieu Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, explained.  

"Even though we haven't had a direct hit by a hurricane ... keep their vigilance up and be prepared for anything that might happen," Gremillion said. 

Copyright KPLC.  All rights reserved. 
Powered by WorldNow