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92-year-old woman lives inside her vehicle following Hurricane Laura

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 9:29 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Christine Burke grew up inside a home on Oakwood Drive, now gutted by Hurricane Laura.

At 92 years old, she decided to live in her vehicle while looking at her home with over five decades of memories inside, no windows, and black mold covering the ceilings.

The Cajun Navy found Burke and posted her story to social media. A fellow Lake Charles resident felt inclined to reach out, providing Burke with a camper and hot meals.

“I felt the need to help,” says Rebecca Johnson. “At the same time it was, these hurricanes were months ago, and here we are. For 2.5 months, this woman has been sleeping, using the bathroom, eating in her car. Where is the help for Southwest Louisiana?”

“It wasn’t so bad, but this is much better,” says Burke in reference to her new camper.

The Cajun Navy teamed up with Southern Outfitters, together working to raise money to restore her home.

“Miss Christine, she’s a queen,” says Cajun Navy volunteer Marisa Mckimm. “You cannot leave her in this situation - any woman, any person, any human being - but there’s something about her and her beauty, it shines and you feel it.”

“It’s heartbreaking,” says Steven DeHart, Southern Outfitters Marketing Director. “It’s still so hard to fathom because we get so caught in our own world, in our own problems, in our own situations that we put these blinders on.”

A community rallying together to help has given Burke a feeling of love and support she says is indescribable.

“Oh there ain’t no words for it,” says Burke. “No words for it. It means everything to me - everything!”

“These people feel forgotten, Southwest Louisiana feels forgotten,” says Johnson. “This is a prime example that we need help. People need help. She’s not the only story out there. There are many, many more.”

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