Louisiana family devastated by winter storm following back to back hurricanes

Southwest Louisiana, the area ravished by two major hurricanes in 2020, are now facing another major weather event as freezing temperatures have set in.

News Center 7′s Kayla Courvell has been following a family, who lost almost everything during Hurricane Laura, while they though things were looking up, they have faced another setback.

In February, Louisiana is usually filled with parades, gumbo, beads and other traditions, but not this year.

Lt. Jeff Keenum of the Lake Charles Police Department said, “We awakened to a winter wonderland around here and while it’s beautiful and fun to play in, it’s wreaked havoc on the water system and power grid.”

Lt. Keenum knows that snow in Louisiana is rare and many look forward to the one or two days a year that they can play in the snow. Skating down the street on the other hand is rare, especially with the area still recovering from back to back hurricanes.

“To see people with blue tarps on their roofs now coverage in snow, it’s just crazy,” Lt. Keenum said.

News Center 7 told you about the Hollier family last September who lost their home during Hurricane Laura and having to evacuate weeks later due to Hurricane Sally, which brought even more damage to Lake Charles and surrounding areas.

Less than six months later, the weather brought freezing temperatures, snow and ice and to the already devastated areas.

Lt. Keenum said, “Anytime we have weather like this down here, we’re just not in anyway prepared to deal with any of the issues. Everything shuts down as far as transportation, and then they were doing scheduled power outages to try and keep up.”

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Unlike Ohio, many homes in Louisiana are built on piers or on slabs. They are made to keep the heat out, not in. So, when temperatures drop below freezing, people keep their faucets dripping to avoid pipes from freezing.

With so many people leaving their water run, it’s reduced water pressure for everyone in and around Lake Charles. Officials said it’s so cold pipes are freezing and bursting regardless.

Jeremy Hollier said, “We haven’t had running water since Monday. The pipes from over and last night, I could see they had thawed out, but they were busted.

Because there’s no water, the Hollier’s and other families in this situation are having to get creative in how they live their day to day lives, like using bottled water to brush their teeth and using buckets filled with snow.

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Once the snow melts, they use the water to flush their toilets. “it’s been a while since I had a shower or bath,” Hollier said.

To make matter worse, the day before temperatures dropped below freezing, “I woke up Saturday morning feeling like I got hit by a bus and found out I had COVID,” Kaitlyn Hollier said.

Because of this, the Holliers will have to spend at least another week inside their rental home with no running water, quarantined with only each other, praying that they can make it through to warmer days.

Kayla Courvell

Kayla Courvell

I was born and raised in a small town just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and decided as a child I was going to be a news reporter.