Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Now that It's over...

We were blessed to not get hit with the 'east' side of the hurricane, here in Lafayette. The eye of the storm came right over us, and from what I've learned, it's one of the best places to be.

The eye of the storm never really formed, but my friends told me of times when the eye was so clearly defined that the sun was out and only a slight breeze. They'd even go out and play for a while until the back end of it came through...crazy! We did go out when the eye got to us, but it was still raining a little. My one friend is almost 40 yrs. old and has been through every hurricane here, and this was the first one they didn't loose power. There were many in Lafayette who did, but we were fortunate enough not to loose it. My friends did loose one of the biggest limbs of their pecan tree, it just SNAPED! Again, very blessed because it didn't fall on the house or the fancy swing set they have or the fence. It didn't destroy anything.

Scott was scheduled to fly into Lafayette Tuesday evening, but we thought he'd end up staying the night in Houston due to the storm damage, nope. He was able to come in at the scheduled time.

We lucked out, but there were many in Lafayette and especially Baton Rouge who did not fair as well. Baton Rouge was on the 'east' side of the storm and was slammed with major damage.

Tuesday, the day after the storm we got a call from a local church leader; (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) he was asking many of us in the Lafayette Ward to get maps and turn-by-turn directions to EVERY member in the Baton Rouge area. The majority of Tuesday afternoon and evening my friends that I was staying with (Chuck and Tanya Duhon) worked on getting the information put together for the branch we were given. They needed the list that night. What a task! On top of that, Lafayette had an 8 pm curfew. If you were caught off your property after 8 pm, you would be arrested. So we needed to get it all put together and get it to one of the leaders before 8 pm. (Thanks to MapQuest to got it done, just in the nick of time.)

The men were asked to go to Baton Rouge Saturday to help clean up yards and do what they could to help the members and their neighbors in that area. Not thinking much of it, Scott left about 5 am Saturday morning. As he and chuck and another friend Paul, pulled into the Stake Center in Baton Rouge, the sight overwhelmed them!

There were vehicles from most of the surrounding states that filled the parking lots of the church house and the temple. (Temple is next to the church) People had been camping out for a few days and were planning on staying until the job was done. There were a couple 18 wheelers full of supplies: chain saws, cleaning kits, tarps, rope, tolietry kits, etc, etc. When they walked into the church house it had turned into a large, well organized command center. I'm not sure on the details of how they got work-orders, but they organized teams to go out to certain areas with work orders in hand and a list of things they'd need to take with them!!!! They had t-shirts for all the volunteers. T-shirts said, "Mormon Helping Hands - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints"

They went and cut up trees and pulled trees out of peoples roofs/houses and then covered the holes with tarps. Or they'd just cut up all the trees that were down in their yards and even in their neighbors hards. I'd love to get Scott and Chuck to write up a little more about what they did, their experiences and how it made them feel. (I won't make any promises.)

I was with Tanya that day and when the guys got home later that night, it was an awesome experience to sit around the dinner table and have them share these experiences. Chuck said something like this, "I didn't feel like I was serving, I felt that the church was serving me, us. I know that if what happened in Baton Rouge ever happened to us in the Lafayette area, the same service would be given. I'm so grateful to be a member of this church."

There was only 1 hour of church the following day, Sacrement and it was fast and testimony meeting. WOW, it was awesome!! The men were planning on returning to Baton Rouge to continue with clean up. They got the word that there were so many form surrounding states and so much was done on Saturday that we no longer needed to go to Baton Rouge. SOOO...they put work orders together of the members here in our area, divided up into teams and went out to help those who had trees down and whatever other problems cleaned up...after they went out to do fast offerings. :-) A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

Again, I was at Tanya's and Chuck and Scott went out to help and a crew came over to there place to cut down the remaining tree limb. The day after the storm chuck cut off all the side branches and we had picked up all the leaves and limbs, but it was too big and dangerous to remove the main limb. The crew that came over had a big bobcat...I think that's what it was, and the team of 5, (chuck nor Scott was there) removed it, cut it up and put all the remaining wood, neatly into the wood pile. Then off they went.... It was awesome!!!

I would like to get some pictures from the Baton Rouge clean up, but I don't know if I'll find someone who took pictures.

Here are a few shots of the tree that our friends, Chuck and Tanya Duhon lost.

Once the clean up had started...

Us cleaning...

All that was left once we finished. This is the limb the crew came and removed and cut so nicely for fire wood.

Hait-through the eyes of my own camera - 2003