Lafayette, La., Residents Prepare For Gustav

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Jacki Lyden talks to Frank and Carrie Durrand of Lafayette, La., about their preparation for Hurricane Gustav.

JACKI LYDEN, host:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

As we're keeping track of Hurricane Gustav today, we thought we'd check in with some residents who may be in the storm's path. It had been an eerily beautiful morning where Frank and Carrie Durrand live, in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Proud Cajuns, they're both in their 60s. Carrie's an artist, and Frank is a sheriff's deputy, and they live in a picturesque little bungalow, not far from the cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Thanks for joining us, Carrie and Frank.

Ms. CARRIE DURRAND (Artist, Lafayette, Louisiana): Glad to talk to you again, Jacki.

Mr. FRANK DURRAND (Deputy, Lafayette, Louisiana): Thank you so much for calling.

LYDEN: So tell me. You said earlier when we spoke to you that it was a gorgeous day. What's going on with the weather now?

Ms. DURRAND: Well, it's starting to get overcast right now and slight wind, but you know, it's not really heavy, heavy wind. It's just like a little breeze blowing in the trees every once in a while. It's still kind of just waiting, but it's not with that heavy sense of nothing.

LYDEN: Frank, what have you been doing today to get ready?

Mr. DURRAND: Just taking care of the property as best I can, moving things around and preparing for the inevitable electric shortage or electrical shortage.

LYDEN: Does that mean that you've been cooking in advance?

Mr. DURRAND: Yes.

Ms. DURRAND: Oh, Frank hasn't been cooking. Carrie's been the one cooking.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: And what have you been cooking?

Ms. DURRAND: Mainly things that you can eat without having to heat up, like of course yesterday, Frank grilled the pork chops. I boiled the eggs and then today chopped everything up and made like a meat salad for sandwiches, and then I'm going to cook a big fried rice because it's all going to be fresh ingredients. So it can just kind of stay out, you know, for a couple - you know, it'll be easy to eat.

LYDEN: Now it does sound to me like both of you are planning on riding this out there in the city. You are only 25 miles from the Gulf. Have you thought about evacuating yourself?

Ms. DURRAND: Frank has to work, and if he can't leave, I'm not leaving, so we'll ride it out… because the house is very sturdily built. We do not have very large trees that if they would fall, I don't think they would fall in the direction of the house, based on past experience with hurricanes.

We've already gone through two or three in this house since we've moved here.

LYDEN: You do have one large, historic tree in your neighborhood, though.

Ms. DURRAND: That's right.

LYDEN: You have a Louisiana Live Oak that's more than four centuries old next to the cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Has that ever been damaged in a hurricane?

Ms. DURRAND: Yes. Lily took a significant off the top of it. There was damage to the top, concerned about if we get high winds, they're predicting we'll have higher winds than we had for Lily, so we don't know what kind of damages because just on account of its age.

LYDEN: And Tropical Storm Lily, you'll remember, was in 2002. Is there a good old Cajun expression for how you both are feeling right now?

Ms. DURRAND: What's going to be is going to be. You just do the best you can, get prepared, say a prayer because it's coming. Nothing you can do to change it, and just have faith in God, and he'll protect you.

LYDEN: Okay, thank you. You want to wish us goodbye in French?

Mr. DURRAND: Bon voyage.

Ms. DURRAND: (Speaking foreign language).

LYDEN: And we really do hope that you are safe. Thanks so much for speaking with us.

Ms. DURRAND: Thank you.

Mr. DURRAND: Thank you so much.

LYDEN: Frank and Carrie Durrand of Lafayette, Louisiana, we wish you the best.

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