Audrey Survivors - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Audrey Survivors

Reported by Rhonda Kitchens

Audrey raged on the Cameron coast for only a matter of hours but the devastation she left behind will live forever in the minds of those who survived.

Hurricane Survivor Vergie LeBleu: "We realized that the water was coming into our house about 3 that morning of course we had no idea it was going to get as bad as it did."

Within just a few hours Vergie says the water had risen waist-high.

She and her husband, then Cameron police-juror Conway LeBleu abandoned their home for a neighbors larger, more sturdy dwelling.

Vergie: "When we got over to the 2 story house there was 3 other families there. The family that lived there, the Tupper's and then the Thurman Alexander family and their children and the Tinz Murphy family and their children."

Across town, Willard and Twila Savoie were bunkered down at St. Gabriels hospital where Twila worked as a nurse.

Twila Savoie: "Once the water started coming in the doctor went , he said I'm going to get my black bag and he went into the house which was connected to the hospital and when he came back out we were gone. The water had picked us up and we floated all day."

They had no idea where the journey would end.

Twila Savoie: "It was daylight, well during the day, but the rain and the wind were so strong."

Miles apart their stories intertwine. Cameron parish residents were all in the battle of their life...a battle only some would survive.

Vergie: "It just kept getting worse and worse and worse. The water continued to get higher and when the waves would hit the house it would just be like a pile driver. You know the whole house would vibrate....So Conway and some of the other men decided that there was a big oak tree just to the northwest of the house and they decided that they should start trying to put the children in the tree."

There they would cling to life for hours to come.

Vergie: "And that water, it went over our heads with every, every wave that came for several hours."

They watched helplessly as two in the group were plunged into the raging waters. When the storm subsided the group would make the mile and a half walk to the Cameron courthouse.

Vergie: "As we walked you were just more or less mechanical we were numb."

At the courthouse they waited for a ride to Lake Charles, a warm set of clothes, and a chance to turn their worst nightmare into the bond of a community.

The Savoie's and the LeBleu's say just as the memories, one important lesson will stay with them forever. They say any time an evacuation is ordered they will be ready to pack up and head out of town.

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