The forecast is dire.
From the New York Times a short time ago --
Hurricane Laura Live Updates: Storm Is Expected to Hit Category 4 Strength
The hurricane is projected to make landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border early Thursday, with powerful winds and heavy rains likely as soon as Wednesday afternoon.
RIGHT NOW The center of Laura, now a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of nearly 115 miles per hour, is about 280 miles south of Lake Charles, La., and moving toward the city.
Until November of 2019, I only knew Lake Charles as the city where Ruth Cost's daughter lived. Well into her late 70's, Ruth would drive by herself from Hartselle, AL to Lake Charles to visit a couple of times each year. It sounded like a very nice place.
Then, as a result of my work as a travel writer, I had a chance to visit the city TWICE!! November, 2019 and March, 2020 -- only a week before the world shut down because of the pandemic. I now know some people there, some very special people, and those faces are on my heart today.
I don't have photos of Kathryn Shea Duncan and Will Precht, but I wish I did. They are very sharp, savvy, attractive millennials who help promote tourism for Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana. After wading their way through the devastating effects on tourism caused by COVID-19, now they have a monster hurricane heading their way. I pray that they will get to a place of safety and be spared injury and harm. I pray that they will have wisdom in knowing how to help Lake Charles recover from the effects of this storm.
I'm thinking about David Faulk, director of the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu in Lake Charles. He oversees the displays of costumes from the past worth thousands of dollars. It is an important part of Lake Charles's culture, and I'm praying this museum will be spared.
I'm thinking about Chef Lyle Broussard. He is a talented and personable chef. I've tasted his dishes twice, and they are amazing. His family lives in the area, and he learned to cook from his grandmother and other family members by watching them day after day produce food with the products and flavors of the region. I pray that he and his family will be spared.
I'm thinking about Dave Evans, owner of Luna Bar and Grill in downtown Lake Charles. He's a family man, and his entire family is involved in the restaurant. Menu items bear their names. I pray they will be spared and their business won't be destroyed.
I pray for Nancy Holmes and Nancy Kirby, owners of Acadian Coffee Roasters. They take such pride in and have such a passion for their products. I pray that their business will survive.
I pray for Adley Cormier, a true historian of all things Lake Charles, and I wish I had a photo and a recording of some of his wonderful stories. I pray that the buildings in the historical districts he loves to make come alive for visitors to Lake Charles will be spared significant damage. Because of Adley, I now know what Resurrection ferns look like, and I love finding them on the stately live oak trees of the area. I pray for his health during these days.
I toured a number of distilleries around Lake Charles -- one of the big byproducts of all the sugar cane. I pray for the owners and employees of those businesses.
My daughter Laura was excited when she saw on the news that a tropical depression was forming in the Atlantic and would bear her name. She wrote on Facebook -- "Can it be a raging hurricane completely away from people??" Well, unfortunately, it IS a raging hurricane, and it is headed straight for some people I have learned to appreciate and respect.
Dear God, I know that You are the Creator of the earth and all the things in it, even the weather. I also know that You created every human being in Your likeness. I know that You know every person in Lake Charles and in southwest Louisiana and that You love them. If it is Your will, I ask that You spare their lives and allow them to quickly recover from the effects of this storm. Provide the help that they need as they cry out to You. Replace their fear with trust in You and peace that only You know how to give. In Jesus' name. Amen.