See Some 2005 Footage from Hurricane Rita’s Disaster Area and Find Out How I Ended Up on FOX News [VIDEO]
Watching the video above will really take you back -- you can see some of the direct damage Hurricane Rita left behind, still fresh on the ground in 2005.
There are quite a few people and places I know from Jeff Davis and Cameron parishes in that video. (I'm originally from Jennings.) That was a tough time for a lot of people -- but not for me. I rode out both Hurricane Katrina and Rita in Lafayette, and after seeing what so many people went through, I've always felt a little guilty about it. Lots of people were scrambling for water, electricity and air conditioning, while I had only lost power in my rag-tag Lafayette apartment for maybe two hours. For about a week, my little hole in the wall became the Taj Mahal.
On the night Rita started to blow through, I was running a fever of 102 degrees. At the time, I was working for a news-talk station in Lafayette, and since we were a FOX News affiliate, they had asked us to give them information about the storm from 'ground zero.' Lafayette was only getting tropical storm-level winds.
So, at around 3 a.m., I was standing on the outdoor entrance of my second-floor apartment, running fever and babbling 'information' to FOX News about the storm. The truth was, I didn't have any direct information about Rita. I had been in bed all evening and had forgotten about the call. I was using the only real skill the Lord ever gave me in life -- BS'ing. And on that night, I wasn't half bad.
There I was, standing in the rain, trying to guess at the wind speeds from my front porch. While I was on the phone giving my interview, a tree fell over in front of a house about a block away, which scared the heck out of me, but really helped my news report. I ended my report with a very passionate plea to heed evacuation orders, which was ironic coming from a guy on his front porch. They must have thought I was a crazy person. They probably weren't far off.
The rain was coming down, but the wind was blowing so hard, the water couldn't pool up. When the winds would die down, the water would rush backward and start to flood the yard, but then the next gust would come up and blow the water back up the street. It was amazing to watch. Or at least it was with a 102-degree fever and enough drugs in my system to knock out a mule.
A few people later told me they had been up late and heard my one and only national newscast. FOX News has never called to offer me a job, in case anyone was wondering.