Westlake man displaced by Hurricane Laura hospitalized after months living in truck

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 7:46 PM CDT
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Westlake, LA (KPLC) - The blistering heat this summer is unbearable, but imagine not having a home or place to get out of the heat.

It’s a dire situation for those who are homeless or displaced from hurricanes.

Raymond Landry lives in his truck in Westlake outside his home that Hurricane Laura destroyed.

His living situation and future seem to be deteriorating, and there are others like him.

On this hot July day, Landry is where he usually is - in his truck asleep in the driveway of the home where he used to live. He’s been living in the truck a long time.

“Oh shoot. Remember when it was 17 degrees? I was out here then. But I’m resilient, I can adapt,” Landry said.

The truck doesn’t even run, but he’s there because he has nowhere to go. And if he did find a place, he’d need someone to feed the cats.

“I’d have to give them the key to my truck,” Landry said, explaining that’s where he keeps the food for nine cats. “The food’s in my truck because the raccoons eat it.”

Even a casual observer can see he’s living in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions, in the heat, with insect bites and inadequate provisions.

His feet are so swollen and severely diseased, he admits he can barely walk.

Assistant Westlake Fire Chief Jimmy Boyette arrived to do a welfare check.

“Would you mind if I had an ambulance come and check you out?” Boyette said.

“I can’t afford it,” Landry replied.

Boyette, who is also an emergency medical technician, persists.

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that right now, man. I’d feel better if you’d let me call Acadian, get them over here and come take a look at you - maybe get you something,” Boyette said.

“All I need is some antibiotics and some ointment,” Landy said.

Eventually, Boyette called an ambulance, and Landry was transported to a hospital.

Homeless advocate Kelli Stawecki says the heat is a huge problem for people like Landry.

“It’s making people who are living outside or in their vehicles sick. We’ve had two or three calls just today about people being ill from the heat. They’re dehydrated, the mosquitoes are ridiculous. In all my years of doing this, I’ve never seen anything this bad,” Stawecki said.

Stawecki says sheltering those displaced and homeless should be a top priority now - before it’s too late.

Landry went to the hospital and was admitted. No word on his condition.

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