Saturday, September 24

Mayor: Don't come back just yet

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said Saturday that no one should return to the city for at least the next two days while government officials assessed damage left by Hurricane Rita. Roach made the comments on KPLC-TV, which has been broadcasting from Christus/St. Patrick Hospital.

"I want to emphasize that now is not the time to come back," he said. "I will tell you in the next 48 hours after we do an extensive assessment of damage throughout the city."

Roach said he had done a preliminary survey of the damage by driving around the city this morning. He said many roadways were blocked.

"There is pretty extensive wind damage. We are fortunate that the storm didn't come in as a category 4 or 5. There are broken telephone poles and downed trees," he said.

Roach said so far there have been no reports of loss of life.

Asked about flooding, he said the water was over the boardwalk along the lakefront. Pumps at the Kayouchee Coulee pump station were overwhelmed because of high water.

"It will take a while for water to drain, " he said.

Roach said the Civic center "seemed to come through pretty well" with only a few broken windows. He said the Hibernia Tower had some first story windows out. "Every street is impassible. We don't want anyone coming back until we are able to do a more extensive survey." Roach added that the damage to LC is "nothing like you saw in Mississippi."

"The damage here is consistent with a category 2 hurricane, " he said. He said its going to take a long time to restore power. "We won't be able to restore power in a couple of days. I haven't seen anything we cannot recover from.

Roach said residents who remain in the city should not drink the water until they have boiled it.

The Lake Charles Police Department and Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Department are providing security throughout the city, he said. Both departments have been in contact with military police.

"There is no power. There is no gas. There are no restaurants open," he said.

"If we do this right, we will recover quicker. We cannot have people coming back into town. There are downed power lines throughout the city."

Roach said he plans to have his staff shoot digital photos of the storm damage and post them on the city's Web site.

Hector San Miguel
City Editor


Arizona Cajun said...

For a brief moment, CNN showed video phone images from Shell Beach Drive around Watkins and Alvin Streets. Only the roof tops of the homes on the lake side of SB Dr were above water. The lake appeared to have crossed SB Dr. Homes on the south side of SB Dr had water in the first floors. Then they lost the feed and have not gone back to those pictures again.
-Phoenix, AZ

Megan Carter said...

We know of two men: Jim Stulb and Dan Shamsie stranded at 2191 Fitzenreiter Rd. It is off of 171 N. Lake Charles at the opening to english bayou. Several falling trees and power lines are blocking the roadways.