The 2021 Hurricane Season

Pierre Fontenot Friday, November 19, 2021 Comments Off on The 2021 Hurricane Season
The 2021 Hurricane Season

If I were a declaring type person, I’d declare the 2021 hurricane season over.  (Weather type people play it safer.  To them it’s not over until after Thanksgiving.)  

But even a Louisiana civilian like me knows the common sense of storms – just as motors need fuel, so do hurricanes need fuel, but instead of gasoline, a hurricane runs on evaporated moisture, cooked by high 90’s summer sun.

Shorter days, football weather, 80-degree sunshine doesn’t cook enough surface water to get the evaporation fuel up into the clouds.

If I’m right, that the 2021 hurricane season is over with, then why do I feel so blah?  

Laura + Delta + Freeze + Flood

We checked a lot of bad boxes in the 263 days between Laura landfall in August, and high water in May.  First time I heard the words, “2021 Hurricane Season,” my stomach knotted up.  After our L+D+F+F string of one after the other, why wouldn’t nature do us wrong again?

Of the four, Laura was the big lick.  A bad hurricane dominates your life.  Your time and energy are stolen.  You’re forced into unpaid jobs you aren’t qualified for, dealing with insurance and contractors.

After Hurricane Laura, this kind of scene was common. You remember. Drive around, and let your eyes measure 2021 against your memories of 2020. Then clap for yourself. Clap for us all. (Photo courtesy of photographer Lindsey Janies.)

At the least, a bad hurricane steals months from your life, at worst, some people still aren’t back.  It’s reasonable, in the lost days, for people to wonder about their definition of home.  Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Laura were 15 years apart.  If you’re 25, figure you’ll live to 85, you gotta ask yourself, ‘Am I up for 4 more of these big storms?’  Or even 3?  Or 2?  Or 1?

The older you are, the more you ask yourself, ‘If this was hard at my age, how much harder in 10-15 years?’

There was truth, in our reaction to Hurricane Ida.  Before it was even named, just that cone, pointed our way, took our peace away.  That Ida veered away left us complicated, grateful for being spared, guilty for being spared.

What If?

What if Ida would’ve hit us?  A big hurricane, the very next season?  There would’ve been mass despair.

Watching that storm develop, cone pointed towards us, it felt like nature was playing Russian Roulette with us.  

If we want adventure, to feel danger, let it be our choice, our timing.  We’ll go skydiving.  Or climb a mountain.  But home is supposed to be home.  Let home be safe to the point of boring.

Shouldn’t we be rejoicing, that the 2021 Hurricane Season spared us everything but worry?  Maybe this flatness, this blah, maybe it’s because we don’t have any answers to what Laura asked.

Laura wants to know, did she win?  Did we lose? 


Someone from elsewhere, some big shot from media or government, they cannot know what it was like to be a local here in the year after Laura.

Other day, I passed an eyesore.  If the landowner had gotten their pile five yards closer to the road, the debris trucks would’ve taken it.  Instead, it sits, over a year later.

But it serves a higher purpose, reminds me of all the debris that went away.  This stretch of road, it was mile after mile, ugly after uglier, any road, any street, zip codes of ugliness, as if our entire community was a landfill in the making.  

I won’t use the phrase, “fell in love,” but I will use something more accurate, “I fell in respect,” for our people.  We were like ants and bees, in the best ways of ants and bees.  How many trips did we drive our wheelbarrow loads from backyard to front pile?  How many steps were taken, carrying what two hands could carry?  

How many times were we near to give-up, and didn’t?  How many of us did our own thing, and then found extra energy, went across to the neighbor, to help them with theirs?

How much doing without did we do without?  How much grind did we grind?

This local culture, this people that we are, it is a proven thing.  

At the lowest of our Laura low, when we silently wondered, ‘If not here, then where?’ we said no to tornados, no to wildfires, no to freezing winters, but our biggest no was to places where people would not be like our people.

We want to live with people who hug, who smile, who chat with strangers.  We want our children to grow up around people who share our common sense and values.  

We accept our far left, far right, far middle crazies, because we know for a fact, that they’re heart o’ gold when it matters, handy with a chainsaw, and willing to spot you five gallons of gas to get your generator through one more no-electricity night.

 The Power Of Choice 

We up on the Interstate 10 latitude, we look south to our neighbors in Cameron, Creole, Hackberry and the Cheniers, and we want to hug them.  They get it worse than us.  One hurricane takes grandma’s house, the next takes the church, the school, and the one little store.  Storm after storm, their sense of home keeps getting hurricaned away.

We don’t say it out loud, but we wonder, if the temps keep rising, if the sea keeps rising, will that be us, or our children and grandchildren, in the future.

For now, we have that most basic of need, the power of choice.  

As for the 2021 Hurricane Season, I think we should celebrate it, like it was a gift of being spared.  We should celebrate the good we’ve done, because of the good people that we are.

For now, this is home, we are neighbors, and we feel blessed.

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is dedicated to the dwellers of the 706’s.  We are a unique people. Uncle P can be reached at

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