The Benoit family evacuated Cameron Parish in Louisiana the day before Hurricane Laura made landfall. As the storm grew and wobbled east to west, they questioned heading towards Texas or further inland in Louisiana.
“We didn’t know where to go or where the storm would be. We didn’t want to make the wrong choice,” Roy Benoit said.
In the end, they found themselves sleeping in the parking lot of a Walmart outside of Alexandria, huddled in their vehicles. As the storm took aim at the coast, a local sheriff’s deputy awoke the family from their slumber and instructed them to follow him to a Red Cross shelter.
When asked about their experience at the Red Cross shelter, Benoit described the shelter as being pleasant - hot meals, a place to lay his head, and a safe place his entire family could stay together.
“This is heaven compared to where we were sleeping before,” he said through tear-filled eyes.
Roy’s wife Carolyn, daughter Bethany and four grandchildren have made fast friends with the other shelter residents. They share socially distanced meals, discuss scripture and swap stories of simpler times. The littlest grandson, Dayson, received the most attention with his tiny dimples and contagious, shining smile.
“By gods help we are saved. Like everyone else we didn’t know what would happen but we are okay. We have our wonderful beautiful little family and I don’t ever want someone else to lose theirs.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Benoit family are just several of thousands of people in the affected states forced to leave their homes. Here are three ways you can support those impacted by Hurricane Laura.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
Support all the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross.
Find a drive and schedule a blood donation appointment today.
Take a class and be ready to respond if an emergency strikes.