Houseboat guests rescued after weather turns wild on Lake Pontchartrain

Rescued boaters say weather turned suddenly

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - For two years, Nancy Cull and her husband, Roger, have called their houseboat at Pontchartrain Landing home.

On Saturday, they decided to throw a party.

"We were taking the boat out for one last party for the summer. We had family and friends. We went out to UNO, where we've gone hundreds of times. We tied up there so that people could go swimming," Nancy Cull said.

About 35 people were on the houseboat, L'Attitude, and they were having a blast until the weather took a turn for the worse.

"The wind picked up. It was over 20 knots from what I've been told," Cull said.

They began to get worried. She describes the boat as "rocking and rolling" for more than an hour as guests began to get sick. As if it wasn't bad enough, the waves eventually got the best of L'Attitude.

"Our anchor caught onto a piling, and when the wave came up, it pushed the end of the boat onto the piling. We were stuck on the piling," Cull said.

The boat was stuck on an angle, allowing water to pour into the engine room.

"We lost our generator. We lost all power on the boat, so we called the Coast Guard for a rescue. Our Captain just said, 'Come get us. We have 35 people on board. Please come take these people off this boat,'" Cull said.

Everyone on board had a life vest, including the family dog.

"I mean the water was rough. Their boat was going up and our boat down. You would finally get to where our doors were lining up, and we were just telling people to jump," Cull said.

As the Coast Guard arrived and started the rescue, Cull's friend, boat captain Joe Rugg, pulled up in the Miss Who Dat to help.

"I have the biggest boat to handle that many people," Rugg said.

Rugg quickly jumped into action.

"The boat was taking on water. The Coast Guard transferred passengers from the Coast Guard boat to the Miss Who Dat," Rugg said.

The Cull family said there was minor damage to their house boat and no one was injured. They said the rescue was amazing.

"They were so gracious. They were so calm because we were not so calm. They just did their job, what they were trained for, and we are grateful," Cull said.

Cull said she'd been trained in boating safety and knew the importance of having enough life vests on board. She even gathered everyone around Saturday before they left to give them a few tips.

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