Thursday, September 29

Riding out the storm in Jennings


JENNINGS — Crystal Dickinson and her husband, Shane, didn't think things were going to be too bad as they hunkered down for Hurricane Rita in their North Church Street home in Jennings.

She'd slept through Hurricane Lili three years ago and stayed behind for Hurricane Andrew before that.

"I thought we'd be all right because we were far enough from the danger zone," Dickinson said. "I thought it would be similar to Hurricane Lili and I napped through that one."

She tried to sleep through this one, too and thought she'd be safe on the floor. She didn't realize the seriousness of it until just before the storm hit.

"About a minute before the first strong gusts of wind hit, my dog got up and came laid next to me and put her head on my chest...I knew it was time to hold on," she said.

That's when the sounds hit.

"If thunder could scream at you that would be the sound I heard," she said describing the loud roar she heard outside.

The roar was followed by sounds of transformers blowing which Dickinson said sounded like "large guns" and the sounds of trees crashing around her.

"I'm 33 year old, but might as well have been 10 years old because I just wanted to talk to my mom," she said.

Dickinson spent much of the night trying to contact her mother by telephone, but was unsuccessful. She didn't calm down until the next day when she knew her mother was safe.

"Hurricane Lili and Andrew didn't put an impression on me, like this one," she said. "Next time I am going to pack up my husband, my dog and my cat and we're gone."

Dickinson was surprised to find moderate damage to her home when she stepped outside the next morning.

"I thought things would be worse," she said. "I expected to see water rolling down the roads."

Dickinson said most of the damage around her home was caused by a 200-pound branch falling on a power line.

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