As the outer bands of Hurricane Barry started sprinkling on Denham Springs Saturday morning, the city’s Fire Station sandbagging location remained busy with last-minute preppers.
The sand piles dwindled in equal measure as a result of anxious shovelers and the increasing wind scattering the grains across the parking lot, making the process more difficult.
Angela Benard, her boyfriend Kerry Arbuckle and Arbuckle’s cousin, Lawrence Calloway shoveled the now-damp sand into bags to load into their truck around 10 a.m., aiming to safeguard Calloway’s mom’s house.
They had already secured their own Baton Rouge homes the day prior, but had learned family members weren't as prepared, forcing them out of their home and away from their hurricane snacks to help.
“We’ve just got to get it done for her,” Benard said.
Arbuckle remembers rescuing family members from the same home in August 2016 in his boat. They sustained between 6 and 8 feet of water at the Green Ridge Drive home near Central, which backs onto a canal that feeds the Amite River.
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As they unloaded the sandbags in the rain Saturday, family members and a small dog hunkered inside, thumbing through photos of the 2016 flood on her iPad. She had watched the water rise up her heavily sloped backyard until eventually it seeped inside the modest one-story home.
Another family member spoke to the three from a Ring doorbell camera he was channeling into from Las Vegas.
It was a quick operation with little interaction with those inside the home, before the three moved onto another loved one’s home for a last-minute delivery.
Arbuckle has since sold the boat he used in the 2016 recovery, but now has another.
“I bought another boat really just two weeks ago, but hopefully I don’t have to use it,” he said.
Livingston Parish officials said Saturday they have distributed 300,000 sandbags on Friday alone, a number more than double that distributed in 2016.