Into the early afternoon on Friday, even with a downpour of rain, cars were still out on the road and forming a drive-through line that wrapped around Kevin’s Seafood for fried catfish and shrimp. But most other gas stations, stores and restaurants had already shut down, and before long, the traffic largely vanished from many streets.
There were no hotel rooms left in the city, officials said, so people evacuating from other communities in the path of the storm needed to bunk with relatives or friends or travel farther. For those remaining in the city, officials urged them to stay at home.
“We will prepare for the worst here locally,” Joshua S. Guillory, the Lafayette mayor-president, said, “but pray for the best.”
In nearby Rayne, a city of about 8,000 people, windows had been boarded up and many had already fueled up their generators, hunkering down ahead of the storm.
But not everything was quiet yet. A woman still went for a run, jogging along a two-lane highway through the heavy rainfall that had already started. Others were clearing out their workshops.
Marcus Carmouche, 30, set out on Friday morning with the hope of finding a generator. He had no luck. Instead, he came to the store with his cousin, who gathered up armfuls of bags of chips.
He, like others in Rayne, were not all that perturbed. “It isn’t going to do nothing but tear out a few trees and knock power lines down,” he said, noting that the last storm, Hurricane Laura, had left his family without power for about a day.