Louisiana woman rides out Hurricane Laura at home with family

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LAKE CHARLES, La. (WKRN) – Despite warnings from state officials and evacuation orders in parts of Louisiana, some chose to stay home and ride out the storm.

Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm in the southwestern part of the state during the early morning hours.

Jackie Martz has lived in Lake Charles her whole life. She had to evacuate when Hurricane Rita hit back in 2005, but this time, she chose to stay for her family.

Her husband is considered essential personnel and had to be on standby. The family also has four dogs. Although friends offered them shelter in New Orleans and Mississippi, Martz and her father chose to stay as well.

The family lost power just after midnight and heard strong wind and branches hitting the windows of their brick home. There are shingles from the blinds and branches down all over her yard. Her pool also suffered significant damage.

“It was a matter of just staying calm and we’d walk the house every hour checking for any leaks in the roof or damage to the windows,” Martz said. “I feel like we are fairly blessed it could’ve been a lot worse for us.”

The family purchased sandbags and tons of food and water days prior.

“We have neighbors that have roofs down and trees in their houses,” Martz said.

She hasn’t been able to get a lot of information from people living in her neighborhood, but is hoping for a good outcome and plans to help with relief.

“We rally around each other and right now, I am just trying to figure out how to get out of my yard to check on my neighbors,” she said. “It’s been a huge concern because a lot of people couldn’t decide if they wanted to leave and this thing gained strength overnight, so we just made our decision and stuck with it.”

Her family still has no power, but thankfully they have a generator.

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