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‘I just kept praying’: Yorktowne Drive resident details experience stuck inside her home during Hurricane Ida

LAPLACE — LaPlace resident Hattie Alexander recalls praying to God while sitting on her bed when Hurricane Ida ravaged the area on Aug. 29 — reminding her of an eerily similar experience nine years ago with Hurricane Isaac.

But unlike Isaac, the destruction left behind by Hurricane Ida is much more severe. Before taking refuge on her bed, she recalls walking through the garage and hearing a popping sound that quickly became a loud “boom” from her ceiling caving in. Outside, the wind was so strong “it was like people were holding a conversation” as the water steadily poured in, she said.

“I was feeling helpless. I felt like I’m gone. This is the end of the world,” Alexander said. “I just kept praying ‘God, protect me.’”

A week later, the ceiling in her living room continues to cave in. Littered debris prevents her from reaching her refrigerator. A few feet away outside lies pieces of what was once a shed. Her brand new sofa can’t be salvaged. Her fence was damaged from a fallen utility pole, and the roof over her patio and kitchen is damaged.

Alexander, 73, said she dialed 9-11 during the storm, pleading for a rescue. That didn’t arrive until the following morning when county officials brought her to the Johnson Law Enforcement Training Center on Cambridge Drive. When she finally left her home after the storm, the water inside her home came up to her knees.

Alexander is currently staying with family on Cambridge Drive, who are also working to pick up the pieces left behind by Hurricane Ida. Her car flooded, leaving her with no transportation to obtain supplies like water and tarps for herself. Given the current lack of electricity, spotty cell phone reception and number of locals who are also contacting insurance companies, Alexander said she is afraid an adjuster can’t assess the damage for another few days. She was informed her claim would take up to 48 hours to process and an additional one or two days before someone can inspect the home. She anticipates at least another day of waiting given the holiday weekend.

Even though she’s ready to hire help to gut her home, she has to stay put with her family so she doesn’t miss a call from her insurance company. Despite living in her home on the 3000 block of Yorktowne Drive for 31 years, where she raised two generations of children, she said her best option may be to sell it. As a collector, she wants to focus on her knick-knacks.

“When they come, the way I’m thinking, I’m going to fix it up and sell it because I can’t go through with this anymore,” she said.

Prior to Hurricane Isaac, Alexander collected dolls and said locals gifted her with more following the storm. Before Hurricane Ida hit, she collected shot glasses. Now, they’re all gone.

“You have to be a child of God and have to have faith to deal with this,” Alexander said. “Because if you don’t, it’ll mess your mind up … But it’s material things. I’m alive.”