August 25, 2020, Alexandria, LA-
Our day began in Beaumont, with slight overcast but gathering clouds off to the south. Tropical Depression Marco had dissipated, with little effect on the coast. Hurricane Laura, on the other hand, was shaping up to be either a Category 3 or 4 storm.
So, the preparations began for our Red Cross team, called a “Strike Team”, so named for our specific mission. Ours is to be ready for the surge of people who are likely to come to this small city, in the center of Louisiana, in advance of Laura’s anticipated surge of 10-15 feet, just south of Lake Charles.
I had a dream, last Tuesday evening, that I would deploy to this city, which I know only from a news item about three girls transferring to a private school, some thirty-five years ago. The women have likely moved on, but Alexandria has grown a bit and has taken a place as a regional hub for the mid-state.
Getting back to our day’s itinerary, the call came to pack up and move out, so we were on the road by 10 a.m. Bye, bye, Beaumont. and two hours later, Bon Soir, Baton Rouge. We got settled in our rooms, I went over to a take-out only International House of Panckaes, got a burger, onion rings and a large lemonade, walked back in a brief shower, enjoyed lunch and laid down for a brief nap. Then, five minutes later- Up and out!
That was my shortest motel stay, ever-having never engaged in illicit affairs. We were once again on the road, this time to Alexandria. My dream having transpired, we engaged in setting up sleeping cots, bringing in basic supplies and getting a decent night’s rest. We are. presently, prepared to stay here, at Rapides Parish Coliseum, for 3-5 days. That, as we learned yesterday, is subject to change-at the command of the storm.
It is likely that Laura will hammer the west central to middle Gulf Coast and several hundred miles inland, then become a tropical depression, stretching from Arkansas to Cape Cod, via the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic Coast, before returning to tropical storm status and heading for Nova Scotia.
It”s going to be a long week for many-and we still have room in our hearts for those suffering from fires in California and in Globe, Arizona.