Acadiana tried to dry off Monday after Mother Nature dropped 10 inches or more of rain over the weekend in some places, flooding roads and houses mostly north of Lafayette and requiring emergency workers to pull people from homes.
The rain also made heroes out of ordinary people, like a young man who pulled Beverly LeJeune out of her submerged GMC truck as day turned to dusk Sunday just south of Cankton, one area that caught the brunt of the storm.
“He grabbed my hand. He helped me out. Thank God for him,” LeJeune said. She added that she regretted not getting his name, or the names of the “wonderful” people who opened their nearby home to her so she could dry off and warm up.
By Monday afternoon, the rain that drenched the southern part of the state had slackened or stopped and let the sun peek out. Weather forecasters, fearful that more rain on saturated ground could lead to flooding, erred on the side of caution and continued to call for flash flood watches across the region until 7 p.m.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jonathan Brazzell said, however, that any lingering rain Monday evening from the storm system most likely would be benign.
“I don’t see any flood issues for Acadiana (Monday night),” he said.
Brazzell said up to 10 inches of rain fell in the area during the weekend, with an area north of Interstate 10 near the Lafayette Parish-St. Landry Parish line catching the worst of it. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said emergency personnel rescued a family from a home south of Cankton on Sunday, and on Monday they retrieved a person from a flooded home near Grand Coteau.
By mid-afternoon Monday, the water in south St. Landry Parish had not receded much, Guidroz said.
Throughout the multi-day deluge, authorities reported no injuries or deaths due to the rain.
But there was almost a casualty, said LeJeune, of St. Landry Parish, who was driving to a friend’s house by way of Cockpit Road near Gendarme Road when she realized she was in trouble. Although Cockpit Road was under water, LeJeune said there were no barricades erected to warn of danger or keep vehicles off the road, and she drove off the bridge of the coulee at the parish line.
“I thought it was OK because there were no barricades. … The water just dropped deep and took my truck,” she said. “I almost drowned. I couldn’t get out of my truck.”
Up to her neck in the cab of her GMC, people nearby saw that LeJeune was in distress. A young man waded out to rescue her, finally opening the door after efforts to break the window failed.
Once out, a woman at a nearby home wrapped her in warm blankets until LeJeune’s family could get her.
Flooding did force authorities to put up barricades and shut down roads in other areas near Cankton.
A stretch of La. 343, between La. 93 and La. 356, remained closed Monday evening due to high water. Another stretch of La. 343, between La. 98 and Martinez Road, also remains closed, according to the Department of Transportation and Development. Also, both lanes of La. 761 between La. 365 and La. 343 near Cankton remain closed, DOTD said.
State Police on Sunday also closed Interstate 49 at the Grand Coteau-Sunset exit, but reopened it Sunday evening.
In Acadia Parish near Estherwood, south of Interstate 10, flooding forced officials to close La. 91 between Myers Road and Bernard Road, according to the DOTD.
Flooding also hit Cecilia in St. Martin Parish, Sheriff’s Office Maj. Ginny Higgins said.
She said parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness officials urge residents across the parish to call (337) 394-2837 to report damage sustained by homes and businesses.
The Associated Press reported that homes and businesses across the region were damaged including in Lake Charles, Carencro and Henderson. Also, hail was reported Sunday in Lake Charles, Plaquemine, White Castle, Gonzales and areas of Lafourche Parish.
In Ascension and Tangipahoa parishes, authorities closed roads due to high water. In New Orleans, the heavy rain caused headaches for organizers of the Zurich Classic golf tournament and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Follow Billy Gunn on Twitter, @BillyGunnAcad.