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Battered by hurricanes, 90% of population leaves coastal town

via Live Storms Media
This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

The town of Cameron, Louisiana has been devastated by a series of powerful hurricanes over the past two decades, most recently Laura and Delta in 2020.

This has left the once thriving community of almost 2,000 people with under 200 residents currently.

“There’s been times that I’ve thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’” resident and business owner Tressie LaBove Smith said. “I’ve been open for 10 years, and this is the toughest time I’ve ever had with my business.”

The few remaining locals struggle to survive as most infrastructure and homes have been destroyed.

“We didn’t have a hurricane for 50 years, and then all of a sudden we had two in the last 15 years that wiped us out completely,” Smith said. “And they’re not little storms. They’re bad.”

“We grew up with pipelines in our backyard,” Sheriff Ron Johnson said. “The oil and gas industry was part of us. The project will be very good for the nation, very good for Louisiana, and very good for Cameron Parish.”

“If I had a time machine, I would go back to Cameron before 2005 to see what it was like,” resident Anna Dupont said. “They always talk about how great it was.”

A proposed expansion of a nearby natural gas export terminal offers potential economic relief but has been protested by climate activists concerned over increased emissions.

Younger generations are now leaving as rebuilding has become untenable, yet some lifelong residents remain committed to their dying town, holding onto memories of what Cameron once was before the storms grew stronger with the warming climate.

“I’ll just be driving and I’ll look around and see all the concrete slabs where houses used to be, where my friends used to live,” another resident said. “This feeling of loneliness, it just takes a toll on you after a while. Because you know that they’re not coming back. You’re stuck here without them.”

“It seemed like after Hurricane Rita, everyone just lost hope,” she said. “And whenever you lose hope, I mean, the devil is knocking at your door just waiting for you to fall into his grasp.”

“Of course, parents are going to get into fights of ‘Should we stay or should we go?’” she said. “Should we keep living here and just have to rebuild every five years?”

“Right now, with the work being slow, it’s really rough on us,” Smith said. “So I hope and pray something changes soon.”

“My wife has our cemetery plots in Cameron Parish in Grand Lake,” Johnson said. “That is my plan, to never leave Cameron Parish.”

“This is where I thought I’d be for the rest of my life,” Smith said. “I just didn’t think we’d have to start over again.”

“Cameron is the end of the world,” she said. “When you get down here, you can’t go any further. That’s where I was raised, where my kids were raised, all my family. I’d rather be there. I’d rather be home.”

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This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak,...

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