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Fifty years ago today: Hurricane Audrey

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Johnny Dangerously, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Most of you probably never heard of Hurricane Audrey, but she tore up the Southwest Louisiana coast on June 27, 1957. That area is still trying to get back on its feet after Hurricane Rita, but today there will be a break from the business of rebuilding to remember the hundreds killed by Audrey.

    It's hard to imagine a hurricane season without cable television, the Weather Channel, your choice of weather sites online, Doppler radar and so many other modern ways of monitoring storms, but that was the world of 1957. I grew up hearing stories about how the folks 30-60 miles south of my hometown went to bed one night thinking Audrey was far out in the Gulf of Mexico and that they could afford to wait until the next day to begin evacuating. Without the tracking devices we would come to lean on years later, they didn't realize Audrey seemed to almost wait until nightfall and then shift gears and speed toward the coastline.

    She hit so quickly, so unexpectedly, that many drowned in their homes. Many were rescued from trees, and supposedly some children were tied to trees by their parents to ensure they wouldn't be swept away. The storm tide was reportedly 7 feet as far north as my hometown. The exact death toll will never be known. My parents told stories of graves being uprooted in Cameron Parish and being discovered many miles inland, close to my hometown. There were mass burials there after Audrey, and today I saw photos of one coffin after another being lowered into a huge ditch while a priest offers blessings for the 47 people being buried that day.

    It's easy to understand why, as I grew up in the 1960s and '70s, my little corner of the world was so sensitive to any storm activity in this hemisphere that had even the slightest possibility of becoming a hurricane. The name "Audrey" was almost always followed by a solemn silence.

    My hometown paper has solid coverage today on the 50th anniversary, but it's a subscription-only site. A photo shows a barge that ended up, after the water receded, resting atop six cars on dry land. Here's a link from a few days ago, a good story by The Times-Picayune:


    Many people I know have heavy hearts today as they remember the dead. In some cases it's an aunt or an uncle or a parent they never knew.

    I know we have some people who are interested in hurricanes and their histories. I thought I'd pass this along. There is also plenty of material elsewhere on the Internet.
  2. audreyld

    audreyld Guest

    Great story, JD.

    We should all take a moment to remember that there are those who have suffered tragedy outside our very small windows of memory.
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