Choosing what to take in evacuation

February 14, 2006
Reported by Rhonda Kitchens

After watching the devastation in New Orleans, most residents in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes didn't hesitate to get out of town as Rita turned her sights on Southwest Louisiana. But when they returned home, many were shocked to find everything they cherished was gone. One Cameron Parish resident says the experience has changed what she will take along the next time disaster strikes.

"There's some things I wish I would have left and some I wish I would have taken," Lynn Labouve said.  The one thing Labouve says she's most thankful for getting out of Cameron Parish was her grandson.

"We tend to sit and watch the storm and not leave," she said. Even now she can't believe the devastation Hurricane Rita left in her wake.

"I stayed in Westlake and if they ever say again to get out of Calcasieu Parish I'll take them serious," she said. But before she leaves Labouve says she will make sure to take better care of her prized possessions.

While packing up her home, Labouve says she thought she had stored the pictures safely in an envelope. However, when she returned she realized the memories she wanted to pass to future generations had vanished along with her home.

"It was just the floor and the roof and some 2x4's still there," she said. In just three months, another hurricane season will be upon us and Labouve says she'll be ready.

"I would bring food to eat because you don't want to stop and flashlights and things like that and maybe some water," she said.

She says she won't worry about the things that can be replaced.  "Jewelry and things like that, I don't worry about that. I'm just grateful to have my family."

Wednesday on 7 News at Six, Rhonda puts one family to the test. She gave them 15 minutes to gather everything they would want to take in an evacuation. You don't want to miss the results.