Louisiana residents head to Texas as Hurricane Ida hits the coast

The impending arrival of Hurricane Ida caused Louisiana residents to take refuge in Texas before a life-threatening storm surge.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation reported that congestion saturation was obstructed on Interstate 10 on Saturday as motorists fled the Gulf Coast evacuation zones. Countless residents took refuge in Houston as they waited to learn how their homes withstood the storm.

Louisiana resident Dugue Daigle and his family began driving Saturday at 4 a.m. to drive traffic after evacuating their home in Covington, north of Lake Pontchartrain. The 45-year-old business owner had planned to get out of the hurricane at a Residence Inn in Pasadena with his wife and ten-year-old son.

Sixteen years ago, Daigle’s house was damaged by a pine tree that fell and was without electricity for weeks after Hurricane Katrine. His wife’s family lost everything. This time, they decided they didn’t want to worry about “the stress of being left behind.”

Although their home was not in a mandatory evacuation area, the Daigles gathered their photo albums, with a few days of clothing, and drove west. They planned to stay at their Houston hotel for at least two nights.

“Everyone has their own threshold of what they are willing to deal with,” he said. “Different levels of danger.”

Others who waited until Saturday afternoon to evacuate had a different experience on the way out. Rebecca Barbier, of Spring Branch, was visiting New Orleans and had to cut the trip when they learned the hurricane was becoming a category four. For most of the journey, Barbier and her husband were stuck in stopped traffic, and when there was movement, it was no faster than 19 miles per hour.

She started to get nervous when she saw that she only had three liters of gas left and the fuel station after the fuel station ran out of gas. They had to make a slight detour to Lake Charles to fill up.

He couldn’t help but think about how a similar situation occurred in 2005 when the Houstonians evacuated due to Hurricane Rita.

“It would be thought that state governments and federal emergency management systems would have some sort of evacuation plan,” Barbier said. “People shouldn’t be afraid, stuck on the roads.”

Northeast Houston, on a 21-acre farm on the Texas-Louisiana border, Kristin and Roy Zirpoli were preparing Saturday night for the arrival of several Louisiana evacuees. The couple opened their Kirbyville farm to anyone looking for shelter, as long as, as Roy said, they didn’t mind “getting a little wrapped up”.

News of their willingness to stay spread quickly on Facebook through the non-profit Cajun Navy Relief, based in New Orleans, and within hours they had their first users. Two families evacuated – one from Baton Rouge and the other from Alexandria – had arrived at the forest estate of their all-terrain vehicles. The Zirpolis set up tents for a third family from New Orleans.

“You just have to do the neighbor and the human,” Roy said.

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In addition to offering homes, some Houstonians are also collecting supplies for evacuees who had to arrive in the city of Bayou in a hurry. Shelley Kutsch, owner of her own gym in the military rice zone, crushed by Shelley, asks her clients and friends to help her pick up air mattresses, sleeping bag sheets and other items for evacuees from Louisiana.

He put together similar efforts during Harvey and Katrina. He also remembers when his New Orleans friends offered him a place to stay during the winter frost.

“It simply came to our notice then. When there is a disaster we help people, “Kutsch said.” Everyone here knows a person from Louisiana … she’s our neighbor. “

Both Mattress Mack and Lakewood Church opened their doors to evacuees who needed it.

Umme Salma, 38, left New Orleans with her husband and three children around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and did not arrive at Katy’s brother-in-law’s home until Sunday at 6 p.m. in the morning.

Despite her exhaustion, the trip was worth it for Salma, who remembers taking refuge in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. He considered approaching Ida at home, but decided he had no desire to relive that experience.

“I’m tired and stressed, but I’m happy to leave. We’re fine, and that’s what matters, ”Salma said.

Salma and her family stay with Md Monirul Islam, a mechanical engineer who invited New Orleans relatives out of the storm with him before extending the invitation to his friends and family as well.

Islam, 35, said he now has 30 people staying at his home in Katy. Women and children sleep in the four bedrooms of the house, while men sleep on the floor in the games room.

“I heard the news and told them it seemed risky to stay there and they were welcome in my house,” Islam said. “I am very proud to help and support them, me and my wife.”

The guests have been a joy to have them around, Islam said.

“Kids play up and down, kids make it a lively house,” said Islam, who has a 3-year-old daughter and is also president of the nonprofit, Projects For Humanity.