Providing refuge

Teachers Laurie Rosato and Aline Theriot didn’t hesitate to open their homes as family, friends in Louisiana evacuated from Hurricane Ida.


Submitted by Laurie Rosato

A tree is uprooted in the backyard of science teacher Laurie Rosato’s mom. Early estimates calculated the damage done by Ida to cost between $80-95 billon.

Reece Cavallo, Staff Writer

Chemistry teacher Laurie Rosato recently found herself a host to a menagerie of guests from Louisiana, including a tortoise and multiple snakes. Despite Rosato’s aversion to creepy crawlies, she was willing to provide refuge for the critters and a handful of friends and relatives that were seeking shelter from Hurricane Ida.

Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm on the coast of Louisiana on Aug. 29, the same day that Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana 16 years earlier. With top winds of 150 mph, Ida is considered to have been one of the strongest and most catastrophic storms in history to strike the mainland US. Although the hurricane affected all of the Eastern US, Ida hit Louisiana the worst, destroying buildings and leaving New Orleans almost totally without power.

Louisiana is where Rosato lived for the majority of her life; and as a long-time resident of New Orleans, she’s seen her fair share of hurricanes. Rosato remembers Hurricanes Betsy and Camille as the biggest storms of her childhood, but she experienced quite a few storms as an adult as well. During her one year stay in Miami in the early ‘90s, the Category 5 Hurricane Andrew ravaged Florida. Back in Louisiana she experienced the 2005 catastrophe known as Hurricane Katrina. And in 2018 she was in Houston when Hurricane Harvey hit.

“It’s just kind of like, ‘Wow,’” Rosato, mimicking her friends, said. “‘The hurricanes follow you around, don’t they?’”

Rosato has always been lucky enough to have friends and family willing to help her out when a storm threatened her home, but now she’s the one able to supply shelter for her family back in Louisiana. The Louisianians that have found refuge at Rosato’s house total six people, including her son and one of her daughters. 

Rosato wasn’t the only Kingwood Park teacher hosting Ida refugees. English and debate teacher Aline Theriot provided a home for her parents and their dog, as Ida has demolished their Louisiana town. 

“My entire home town is pretty much destroyed,” Theriot said. “There’s rubble everywhere in the streets, power lines are down, there won’t be power for at least three weeks, there’s no water, there’s no gas, there are no grocery stores that are open.”

Both teachers had to learn to adjust to their new living situation. Rosato and Theriot are both used to a mostly empty house, so the newfound company caused some disturbance.

“It’s really exhausting,” said Theriot. “ I’m trying to go to bed, and they’re still watching TV. I go home, and I have to do what my parents want.”

But despite the difficulties of having her parents moving in, Theriot remains confident in her decision to provide them shelter.

“After living through Katrina, Harvey, and now Ida, there’s no thought process in it,” Theriot said. “It’s just these people need help, so you help them.”

While Theriot and Rosato’s families were able to find shelter from Ida here in Texas, there is still going to be a huge price to pay once they return home. Houses, schools, and power systems have been damaged greatly by the storm, and recovery from large storms never comes quickly. Theriot urges students to spread the word about donating to organizations that are helping Ida victims, like the Second Harvest Food Bank, Culture AID NOLA, and the Cajun Navy.

“Louisiana is not as rich as Texas,” Theriot said. “And they need a lot of help bouncing back.”