Lafourche Parish prepares for storm season

Bayou Blue, LA - Johnny Broussard stayed for one storm, Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

"When I was a little boy, I'll never forget that," he says.  "The house started shaking, the roof started popping and Daddy stayed for that one. And then when I got old enough on my own, I leave for another one. I don't stay for none of them."

That's a good thing.  Katrina tore up the roof of his Bayou Blue home and Gustav surrounded the place with water.

"I got a brother-in-law and he'll never leave and he'll stay and I'll get on him," says Broussard.  "I tell him if the wind's blowing a 150 miles an hour outside, if the roof starts going off, you're not going to hold it down."

Lafourche Parish emergency officials want everyone here to be prepared for a possible evacuation this hurricane season.  Lafourche is on the front line of any storm that barrels in from the Gulf and many old houses weren't built to withstand the winds from a strong storm.

Another big concern is storm surge. A major hurricane could overtop the levees and push water up the bayous, all the way into Thibodaux.  Director of Emergency Preparedness Chris Boudreaux says the threat of flooding increases a little every year as erosion chews away at the coastline.

"We try to call evacuations according to the state plan," he says.  "We're in the Zone 1 so we going to call them earlier to get the citizens the chance to get out before Orleans and Jefferson, before the contraflow opens."

That means Lafourche Parish residents need to have medications, important documents, and basic supplies like food and water ready to go long before a storm threatens.  The parish already coordinated with state officials to have water and MREs delivered to drop off points if a storm comes ashore.

Boudreaux recommends everyone stock up on enough supplies to get through the first 72 hours after the storm without help.  Johnny Broussard keeps his cupboard stocked with canned goods and says he's ready.

"I wish we wouldn't get them but what can we do?" he says.  "If you're going to live in this part of the country you gotta deal with it."