In my first year out of law school, I was given the wonderful opportunity to serve a one-year term as the law clerk for the Honorable H. Ward Fontentot. Judge Fontenot is the presiding judge -- well, the only judge to be precise -- of the 38th Judicial District Cameron Parish, Louisiana. (And a fine judge he is, I should add.) Cameron Parish is a geographically large, but sparsely populated, area on the Gulf Coast. Many of the residents work in the oil fields or raise cattle, but the big industry there is fishing. The people down there are hard-working and fun-loving. And 22 years ago, they showed great kindness to a wet-behind-the-ears city boy.
Cameron Parish is no stranger to hurricanes. Back in 1957, Hurricane Audrey decimated the area. Everyone I met down there had a story about someone who didn’t make it that time.
Once again, Cameron Parish was ground zero for a major hurricane. Officials have estimated that 100% of the homes down there have been damaged, and perhaps 90% are a total loss. Just as occurred during Hurricane Audrey, the only building left standing in the town of Cameron is the courthouse. The only good news is that most of the residents safely evacuated before the storm.
The people of Cameron Parish have been down this road before. I suspect they’ll do what they did last time. They will rebuild. That’s what they do.