"Ken's Lake Charles Page" Top 5 Page for this destination Lake Charles by Ken_Weaver

Lake Charles Travel Guide: 49 reviews and 110 photos

Hurricane Rita Strikes Southwest Louisiana

At 2:30am on September 24, 2005, Rita, at times a category 5 hurricane, struck the coast of Southwest Louisiana. Cameron Parish, which includes communities of Holly Beach, Hackberry, and Cameron, sustained the worst damage, virtually wiping out those towns. Calcasieu Parish, which includes Lake Charles, Sulphur, and Vinton, sustained severe damage. Total damage estimates range from $6-11billion in total damage, with $4-6 billion in insured damage. 2 million homes were without electricity. I left the area on Oct 13 and still many homes were without electricity.

My Company Answers the Call

I work for Aramark, a company that among other things manages other peoples food operations. We happen to manage the corporate dining operations at the Headquarters of Citgo Petroleum in Houston. Their refinery in Lake Charles was forced into an emergency shutdown and then sustained damage from Hurricane Rita. On September 29, the effort to restart the refinery began and we were asked to come in and set up a feeding operation for the returning workers and the contracted workers needed to repair the damage caused by Rita. The first few days we were preparing about 100 meals a day in a company clubhouse at a private park. By the time I left on October 13, we were serving over 3800 meals a day during 4 meal meal periods. The building's kitchen was only designed to prepare about 100 meals. We brought in a mobile kitchen, refrigerated trucks and tents and hired about 50 people over the two weeks I was there. Every meal was a challenge! The water system was contaminated so we had to cook with and drink bottled water. We had all of equipment on generators. And it was hot and humid........and, mosquitoes just added to the difficulty of working there.

Meeting People Affected by the Hurricanes

About 15 people on our staff were evacuees from New Orleans. 4 of them had worked at the New Orleans Convention Center which our company had managed the food operations. They had be relocated in Houston and when this opportunity occurred they were offered the first work. Later some of their friends and family members came to work for us. It was very difficult for some....one man had three of his children in three different states all staying with friends or relatives. Several days after he had arrived at our site, he received pictures of his home which revealed that the house was totally destroyed.

  • Last visit to Lake Charles: Oct 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (7)

Comments (3)

  • nighthawk's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2006 at 3:46 PM

    despite all that s been going on, lovely page, ray charles and southern belles, what more can a man want ;)

  • Bavavia's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2005 at 7:16 AM

    i hope the gentleman in your picture can rebuild his life soon. It is sad he lost his home, i hope he and his family reunite soon. Nice what ARAMARK did to make sure everyone got fed ok!

  • Oct 25, 2005 at 8:41 PM

    I really like reading the work you did down there, looks like people were in good spirits and RAY CHARLES... lol


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