‘We’re still in recovery mode:’ Cameron Parish a year after Laura

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 9:43 PM CDT
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Cameron, LA (KPLC) - A long road ahead stands between Cameron Parish and its recovery.

Looking around the parish, you can see the destruction. Empty concrete slabs where homes use to stand. Debris still scattered around and hanging from decaying tree limbs. All a reminder of what happened on Aug. 27, 2020.

“Once upon a time we had beautiful and majestic oaks down here. We had beautiful homes, yards. Marshes were beautiful. Abundance of wildlife. And since then, since Rita, then Ike, then Laura, then Delta...there’s not much left,” Scott Trahan said.

Trahan is the Cameron Parish Police Jury President and a lifelong resident of the parish. He grew up in Grand Chenier and now resides in Creole. Through his home is ripped and torn, it is still standing.

The Cameron coastline is Southwest Louisiana’s first line of defense from tropical storms. Being on the frontline - the people of Cameron Parish are all too familiar with loss... And rebuilding.

“The hardest thing for me, when they demoed my house, I watched. It didn’t bother me until they were finished and it was a pile at the road,” parish resident Mary Carroll said while wiping away her tears.

Carroll said her neighbor had called her the day after the storm relaying the news that her home in Sweet Lake was gone. She is still undecided weather she plans on rebuilding or not.

“We’re still in recovery mode. That we still have gutted homes that people are still in campers. We may never be able to fix our house because of where it’s standing now. It’s rotting where it stands,” parish resident Wendy Harrington said.

Harrington currently lives in a trailer outside of her Johnson Bayou home, where she is still dealing with insurance to make repairs. A common story for many in the parish right now left with uncertainty of the future of their homes, leaving many with feelings of defeat.

“It’s sad. It’s sad, ya know. I can’t say we are going to come back stronger than ever because when somebody kicks your butt about four times, sometimes you just want to stay on the ground. You know, so why am i going to get back up and get my butt whipped again,” Trahan said.

It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” for the next storm to meet the Cameron coastline.

“When is the next storm going to be here? You know, and living on the coast, you know, that’s what we have to deal with,” parish resident Robin Morales said.

When returning after the storm, Morale was greeted with just a slab of concrete was left where her Creole home once stood.


Hurricane Laura left only a skeleton of what Cameron Parish once was, but slowly the Cajun heartland is healing. Some business are making a comeback but may look slightly different.

“We trying to get any local business that want to come back. We trying to get people back here,” Trahan said.

Trahan asks Cameron residents find pride in their home and return to their community.

“We’re approaching a year anniversary and we want life to go back as normal as possible,” parish administrator Katie Armentor said.

The parish is still running on temporary power 365 days later. Like so many, Cameron Parish and its residents are still waiting for federal help.

“It’s the waiting on the funding that’s usually the problem,” Armentor said. “FEMA - they do their best to get their workers out there and look at - assess the damage and get people the money to start recovering, but it’s just never fast enough.”

There’s a lot of work left to be done. Yet, it’s a waiting game for the people of Cameron where many are still in need of federal help or insurance assistance.

“Laura, yes it was devastating, but it’s not something we haven’t seen before, and you just roll your sleeves up and get to work. It’s the most beautiful place to world in my opinion and it comes at a price,”Armentor said.

Though they’ve been through it all before, it will be a long time for Cameron Parish to find normalcy, but those who call it home aren’t ready to give up.

“I tell people you just put your big girl pants on and you just keep going,” Carroll said.

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