'Don't forget about us': Gueydan family rides out Hurricane Delta weeks after Laura

Ashley White
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Penny Vincent said she wouldn’t ride out another hurricane at her house after Hurricane Laura.

But her husband said he was going to stay at their home in Gueydan, La. So, Penny, her two teenage children and her dad stayed with him.

Before the storm rolled in on Thursday, she took her holy water and her blessed salts and said her prayers to protect the home her grandfather built in 1953, the two campers and the oak trees her aunt loves that will be the centerpiece of a wedding next weekend.

Vincent, a crawfish farmer, cooked a gumbo that could last the family a few days. the carport was tied down to two tractors and the trampoline, which had to be secured during the middle of Laura, was strapped to a tree.

Then the family waited. They watched Scooby Doo until the power went off. The wind gusts reached up to more than 100 mph. Vincent watched as the camper cover was picked up and thrown into the crawfish pond where it spun legs up before falling on its side.

“Our house was shaking and I was very nervous. I was scared for Laura, but this was worse than Laura,” the 46-year-old said. “If the eyewall passed over us, it wasn’t for long. We had almost no calm. We were in it the whole time. It was pretty rocky, it was rough, but we made it through.”

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Vincent’s house and campers were undamaged though. A Mardi Gras float had fallen on its side and a pine tree crashed near the driveway. Her husband, Ronald Vincent, said he’ll rebuild the camper cover himself.

Six weeks before, during Laura, the Vincents' camp sites at Holly Beach were wiped away. The family has spent every weekend going down with tractors to clear sand and debris, most of which Vincent said was still waiting to be collected and removed.

Before Laura, the camp sites that have been in the family for decades, were wiped out by hurricanes Rita and Ike.

“We’ve been hit pretty hard over there, but my husband and I keep going back,” she said. “People keep asking me why we keep doing and all I can tell them is the memories we make outweigh the heartbreak we get over there. And it’s a lot of heartbreak. I cry a lot about it, but we love it there.”

Vincent said they’d spend Saturday cleaning up the yard and checking on neighbors, who are mostly family members. But she hasn’t heard any news about Holly Beach and worries about the new damage it may have sustained.

Damage:First Hurricane Laura and now Delta. See the damage both storms left behind

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She hopes this time people won’t forget about Southwest Louisiana the way she feels it was forgotten as quickly as Laura moved through the state.

“From Holly Beach to Hackberry, Johnson Bayou, Carlyss, Sulphur, Lake Charles, people have a lot of damage and they have not recovered yet and everybody just forgot about us in Southwest Louisiana,” she said. “Don’t forget about us.”