Hurricane Rita: Entergy Texas Employees Look Back

WINNIE, September 24, 2015 - Around 3:00 AM on Sunday an accident occurred near the intersection of MLK and US 90.Winnie Administrative Assistant Remembers Rita

Like most Entergy employees who lived through hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Deborah Boudreaux remembers it well. She was known as Deborah Kramer, then, in the post she still holds as administrative assistant in Entergy Texas' Winnie Service Center.

And her memories of Hurricane Rita don't revolve around the damage to her home. In fact, she will tell you that she didn't really have much damage to her property--a portable building destroyed and vinyl siding blown off her home. What she recalls vividly was a long, stressful evacuation journey.

Boudreaux, her son, her parents and the family dog climbed into a pickup truck for they hoped would be uneventful 8 ½-hour journey to Shepherd, Texas.

"We stopped in Livingston when we ran out of gas," she said. Roadside assistance refused to come because ‘a hurricane is on the way.' So the four of them and the dog spent the night sleeping in the truck until they were able to leave the next morning. Livingston is a small community, but that night it was crowded with people fleeing the advancing storm.

Ironically, when the family finally reached the small town of Carlos to rest, it wasn't quite the safe haven they were expecting. According to Boudreaux, Rita whipped winds up to 80 mph.

Looking back on the days following the storm, Boudreaux said she was impressed at how quickly the contract crews and others who came to the Winnie area fell in line with our employees and were dedicated to restoring power quickly and safely.

Rita Puts Louis Louvier and Family into FEMA Trailer

Louis Louvier, utility foreman for the Port Arthur network, was a reliability serviceman for Entergy Texas, living comfortably with his family in a recently remodeled home in Port Neches. When Hurricane Rita began its threatening journey to the Southeast Texas coastline, he sent his family out of harm's way to stay with relatives in Woodville.

He, on the other hand, remained behind with the core team like many employees and spent the night before the storm sleeping in a truck at the Beaumont Service Center.

Rita hadn't even finished punishing Port Neches when Louvier returned to check on his house and found 60 mph winds still whipping through the area. At first glance, the house seemed to have escaped serious damage. Some trees had rolled across the roof, taking out shingles, but did not puncture the surface. The interior was an entirely different story. Wind-blown water came through the front of the house and Louvier sloshed through it as he walked from room to room.

Louvier felt disgust at what he saw and relief that his family was safe not too far away. He busied himself pulling up carpet, chiseling out parquet floors and cutting sheetrock four feet up from the floor.

The Louviers spent five months living in a FEMA trailer in their driveway, waiting for repairs to be finished to their home. Looking back on those times, he can smile about living in cramped quarters for so long.

"My son is 6/1" and was so tall he couldn't even stand up in the trailer. He moved out. I'm not a big person, but my feet stuck out over the end of the bed," he said.

Reminiscing about his experiences working restoration, Louvier said it was gratifying to get the work done and get power restored to customers at such a rapid pace.

"I don't want to go through that again," he added. ​ ​​​



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