(NewsMadura) — As Hurricane Ida swept through LaPlace, Louisiana on Sunday, a museum founder crouched in a 1790s plantation home to save irreplaceable historic artifacts.
McCusker, a retired journalist who has covered many hurricanes, including Katrina, told NewsMadura that Sunday night was the most terrifying night he’d experienced in all his years of storm chasing.
“The wind really picked up after dark and they howled all night, for six hours straight,” he said.
He added that the wind was so strong that they didn’t hear it when the large barn opposite the house collapsed into a pile of rubble.
A photo from drone footage shows a damaged barn on the property.
Thanks to Timothy Sheehan
Early in the night, 58-year-old McCusker said, blew out a window in the attic, causing a series of damaging events. The wind propelled the rain into the attic, causing brown sludge-like water to drip from the ceiling throughout the house.
McCusker and Jones used tarps to cover artifacts in the house to keep the water from ruining them, he said.
“We have the largest possession of Kid Ory’s music, photos and personal effects,” he said. “We have boxes and boxes of archive material. It would have all been ruined if we had left.”
He said they had to deal with one crisis after another to make sure the artifacts weren’t damaged.
After the storm, a rainbow appeared over the area on Monday.
Coiurtesy John McCusker
After Ida passed away, he was able to assess the damage throughout the property. The house had blown out three windows and a door knocked off its hinges. Outside the house on the rest of the grounds, rubble and fallen trees — including four century-old magnolias — litter the area. McCusker said they were lucky the wind wasn’t blowing in a different direction or the magnolia trees would have crashed onto the house.
The storm destroyed the shed, which was larger than the house, and the additional shed, he said. And the tops of the trees had twisted around each other as if there had been some sort of tornado activity, he said.
But the artifacts and the museum’s two keepers were safe.
“It was ‘Night at the Museum,'” he said. “We had to stay all night to protect the collection!!”