Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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They hunkered down and braved the storm, but now some residents in southwestern Louisiana are asking for help in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura’s devastating landfall near Lake Charles.
“There are some people still in town, and people are calling…but there ain’t no way to get to them,”Calcasieu Parish’s president of police jury Tony Guillory told the Associated Press.
Orange resident Joe Cole is one of the many locals who stayed behind to ride out the storm. He and others are now stranded and calling for emergency help, but downed power lines and flooding have hampered efforts to reach them.
“Trees down in the backyard, water flooding, water coming from out under the house. That’s about three inches of water,” Cole said in photojournalist Lola Gomez’ Twitter video.
Cole describes his neighborhood in Orange as a “mess.”
“We are safe and the generator up and running…the neighborhood and town is a mess through trees everywhere and car ports and roofs gone in a lot of places,” Cole said.
Laura’s devastation extended to downtown Lake Charles, where the Capital OneTower was hammered with 150-mph winds, rendering the tallest building in town a “mangled mess.”
Storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski captured footage of downtown Lake Charles as the building was lashed by the high winds of Laura’s eyewall.
“Many skyscrapers have blown out windows. Some of the buildings may be total losses,” Piotrowski tweeted.
In a Thursday morning tweet Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told residents to stay home and listen to local officials as the hurricane continues through the state.
“As we wake up today, everyone must remember the threat Laura poses to Louisiana is ongoing. Stay home, continue to heed the warnings and instructions of local officials and monitor your local news to stay informed.”
Edwards’ deputy chief of staff Christina Stephens confirmed the hurricane’s first fatality–14-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on her home.
“We do expect that there could be more fatalities,” Stephens tweeted.