10 Year Anniversary – Hurricane Rita

L’Auberge Lake Charles opened their doors in May of 2005, just three months before Hurricane Katrina and four months before Hurricane Rita made landfall in Southern Louisiana.

RubyFollowing the devastation of Katrina on August 29, Buffet Server Ruby Francois was already busy volunteering at the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, bringing food to the evacuees who made it out before the city of New Orleans was inaccessible.

“We made comfort food, brought them toiletries and things they needed and they were so grateful to us,” said Ruby. “I also let many of them use my phone to call and check on their families because they didn’t have other ways to get in touch with them.”

Less than a month later as Hurricane Rita made its way toward Louisiana, those who had already evacuated from New Orleans either had to stay, because there was nowhere else to go, or they were bussed north to other neighboring cities in Louisiana. Security Officer Eddie Goodly recalls, “The night before Hurricane Rita came, I received a call that the property would be closing and that I didn’t need to come into work. All of the guests were notified that they needed to evacuate the property. There were many team members on the Surveillance and Security teams who ended up staying to help close the property and monitor it during the storm.”

Eddie followed the storm as much as he could on the news and evacuated to Houston with his family. Ruby evacuated with her family first to St. Martinville, and then further north as the storm intensified.

EddieWhen they returned weeks later, the city was like a war zone. Only a few places were open and Eddie’s home was severely damaged. Fortunately, the one thing they didn’t have to worry about was employment.

“I was not worried about my job,” said Eddie. “I was totally confidant that I would have something to come back to and I was grateful to keep receiving my paycheck for the two weeks that the property was closed.”

“It took three weeks before I could come back and during that whole time, L’Auberge never missed giving me my paycheck,” recalls Ruby. “I was extremely thankful for that! It was much needed after seeing the damage we needed to fix on our homes and property.”