IPSO assists in areas wiped out by Laura

Staff Report
The winds from Hurricane Laura uprooted an oak tree in a residential neighborhood in Westlake, near Lake Charles.

Video and photos of Hurricane Laura may give some indication of the devastation it brought the western part of Louisiana, but images do not tell the whole story, Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said.

Stassi and others from the IPSO assisted fellow law enforcement agencies from across the state last week as they patrolled areas in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, where Laura made landfall in the early hours of Aug. 27.

The storm packed 150 mph winds upon landfall – the strongest landfall ever recorded for Louisiana. In the aftermath, the storm has destroyed thousands of homes and business and left the area without gas, water or electricity.

“The amount of damage is enormous,” Stassi said. “It’s hard to believe the amount of damage to the infrastructure, all caused by one storm …there are more utility poles up than down.”

Traffic lights remain out of service in the area, while traffic has been heavy through the area.

Meanwhile, most businesses either operate on limited hours or have remained shuttered. Others have been wiped out altogether.

The weather conditions have not helped matters either.

“The heat is miserable … it’s so hot,” Stassi said. “It’s hard to think that a lot of people who could not leave have to stay out there in that heat.

“What’s worse is the way that storm went way up the coast and caused a lot of damage, even going into Arkansas,” he said.

The crew from IPSO gathered items for residents in the area. The goods they provided included water, clothes, socks and shoes, among other items.

The area will need more than a few weeks of assistance, Stassi said.

“The situation there is horrible,” he said. “It’s going to be a long time before things get back to normal there.”