Early Doucet sat in front of a window at his home in St. Martinville, La., in 1992 and watched as Hurricane Andrew ripped through town.
Two days after Andrew devastated Miami, it showered southern Louisiana with waves of rain and uprooted trees with gusts of wind as strong as 92 mph. Doucet, then only 7 years old, watched a tree crash within inches of his family’s brown Buick Riveria in the driveway.
“That was the one that really hit my area pretty bad,” he said. “Other than that the most we would ever get was heavy rain, strong winds, knock out some power lines but it wasn’t anything really major that would cause us to evacuate or do a lot of major damage to our city.”
With Hurricane Isaac closing in on New Orleans within the next 24 hours according to the National Weather Service, Doucet sat in front of his locker after Tuesday’s practice unfazed by the storm.
After riding out Andrew as a child and then Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as a sophomore at LSU, these storms are old hat for Doucet. Kind of like dust storms are for Arizonans, he said.
“Once you’ve been through one, they are all pretty much the same,” Doucet said. “They can be bad. They can be not bad. As long as I’ve been there we haven’t evacuated. We stayed and down and rode it out.”
Located about 140 miles west of New Orleans, St. Martinville doesn’t usually get the brunt of the hurricanes that reach the Louisiana shore, Doucet said. But that doesn’t stop him from keeping an eye on the news when a storm develops in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s usually a waiting game to see if the storm will strengthen to a Category 3, 4 or 5, or downgrade to a tropical storm. Isaac was a Category 1 as of Tuesday.
Doucet expects Isaac to dump heavy rain on his home town but said his family won’t be in danger from the storm.
For the Cardinals’ receiver, Hurricane Andrew is still the standard for which he measures all storms. As Katrina approached and before it devastated New Orleans, Doucet was in Baton Rouge, located 80 miles northwest of the Crescent City. Baton Rouge didn’t get battered like New Orleans but Katrina forced LSU’s 2005 season opener against Arizona State to be moved to Tempe.
It was the first time Doucet had been to Arizona. Two years later the Cardinals drafted him in the third round.
“I guess I was meant to be here,” he said.
While Doucet prepares for the Denver Broncos on Thursday, his family is preparing for a downpour and whipping wind. They’ll stock up on food and water, and make sure the back-up generator is working.
As he’s done his entire life, Doucet will watch with a cautious eye but to him this is just another hurricane season in Louisiana.