Lili, October 02, 2002
The day before
Hurricane Lili was due to hit, Lance and I started preparing. He
built protection for the windows and cleared the yard of anything
that my become hurtling missiles, while I stocked up on flashlights,
candles, canned food, bottled water and other items that we thought
might be necessary for us and the evacuees. (By Tuesday night, we
had reserved every room available for mandatory evacuees from Kaplan
arrived, the day of Hurricane Lili, and we thought we were adequately
prepared. As it turned out, Lili was downgraded from a Category
4 hurricane to a Category 2. Its path was aimed directly at Eunice.
We are approximately sixty miles from the coast so we thought we
should be safe. Why would emergency personnel recommend to only
evacuate to North of Interstate 10? Winds were not expected to become
"bad" until about 11 am, so Lance and I made coffee and biscuits
for our guests.
the local news station. L'Acadie Inn was on the east side of the
hurricane, which happens to be the worst due to tornadic activity.
As we watched, the meteorologists started pointing out tornadoes
cropping up just a few miles south of us. Lance went around to all
of our guests and started warning them, while I gathered up the
children (who were running quite wild with stress and anticipation).
Lance came back in, the power went off. We gathered in our bedroom
and started praying the rosary. The children fell asleep. All this
time, the rains were torrential. The wind really picked up and the
house started to shake. Our bed began shaking as well. We decided
to move the children to their bedroom away from the windows. Lance
and I gathered up all of our raingear. I don't remember ever being
that frightened, but I knew we were in God's hands. The pressure
dropped drastically, and my ears popped. The upper window in the
lobby blew out, and the attic doors blew off. I think that's probably
when the tornado hit and knocked down the cedar tree. This tree
is located on the south side right in front of our bedroom windows.
The cedar went down at an angle missing our house and our bedroom
by inches. When it went down, the tree uprooted a gas line which
presented an immediate danger. Lance hurriedly went out to cut off
the gas located on the edge of the property. I watched him go with
tree limbs flying through the yard. This was the first time I really
got a good look at the front yard. The water from the rains was
up over the sidewalks and starting to cover the driveway. I had
never worried about flooding before since our house is on piers.
came back, we started trying to save what we could from the lobby
since the rain was now coming through the window. He reported that
everyone was fine. There was a small amount of water going in the
rooms on the east side, and there was a lot of roof damage. Around
2:30-3:00 pm, things began to calm down. The rain slacked off, and
the yard began draining. The winds also calmed. The power was still
off, so we only had one working phone available. People began coming
in to call their families and check on their houses. No one was
killed during the hurricane, although later some casualties were
reported due to generator problems and power outages.
Most of our
guests left that afternoon to try to get back to their own houses.
Our power came back on for the lobby and the inn rooms around eleven
that evening, but remained off for the house and the apartments
until Sunday evening. During that October, it was still very hot.
We cleaned the rooms, and gave them to our family and friends who
still didn't have power. Most were there only one or two nights.
was unbelievable. Many of our trees were slightly leaning and very
pruned from the winds. Limbs and leaves were everywhere. Our Hwy.
190 signs were partially missing and definitely not lighted. A couple
of weeks after Hurricane Lili, we were just missed with another
tornado, and had to begin cleanup all over again. The same thing
happened again several weeks later. The "what-ifs" are enormous,
but God watched over us and only material things were damaged. Even
after four months, L'Acadie Inn still hasn't recovered one hundred
percent, we are continuing to work to make it even better. Lance
and I have decided, if another hurricane comes through our area,
we are closing and heading in the opposite direction. Once in a
lifetime is enough for us!
after the storm, click here.