LAFAYETTE, La. -- Frank and Elaine Smith have had enough. The couple has been through countless storms including one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history, Katrina.
With the prospect of another storm coming their way, the Smiths were watching intently Thursday as forecasters tracked Tropical Storm Karen.
"I'm thinking of leaving the planet," Frank Smith said. "I hope I can find a place in outer space."
Smith is only half joking.
The couple moved to Carencro in 2005 right after Hurricane Katrina forced them out of their New Orleans home, leaving them with nothing. Elaine Smith said that right before the storm hit the city, her son insisted his parents evacuate. She came to Lafayette to stay with her son, a student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Her husband stayed behind to finish securing the house and planned to join her later.
"He called me that night as Katrina was striking," Elaine Smith recalled. "He said he couldn't leave because the rain was coming down all kinds of ways. By Thursday, I thought he had drowned. I didn't know whether he was dead or alive till a week after."
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Frank Smith ended up in the Superdome with thousands of others stranded in the storm. He eventually made it to Lafayette to be with his wife, but he told her he would never talk about the things that happened at the dome or some of the things he had to do to survive.
"He was a wreck," she said. "The Superdome was a living hell."
The Smiths ultimately found jobs as cooks at Classic Golden Pecans in Lafayette and settled in Carencro where they thought they would be safe and sound. Then in March 2012, torrential rains inundated the town and caused widespread flooding. Hundreds lost homes and businesses, including the Smiths.
"The whole house was flooded," Frank Smith recalled. "We had to have it gutted. It was just ridiculous. We just got back into our house most recently."
So on Thursday afternoon, Elaine Smith was watching the weather to see what would happen with Karen. The storm was predicted to enter the Gulf of Mexico by Friday and threaten parts of the Gulf Coast over the weekend.
As of Thursday evening, hurricane watches extended from Grand Isle, La., to Indian Pass, Fla. Tropical storm watches included metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Maurepas, as well as the Gulf Coast from west of Grand Isle to Morgan City, La.
Forecasters said chances were slim the storm would head to the Lafayette area, but that didn't stop Elaine Smith from worrying.
"I'm a little bit edgy," she said. "I'm worried about whether we have to pack up and run again."
Frank Smith said he had no intention of watching the weather much longer, however. He said he was tired of running, tired of worrying.
"My wife is watching it," he said. "But I refuse to. I realize the possibilities. I don't ignore them. But I think there are other things more important than worry."
Elaine Smith's health is one of those things that cause the couple worry these days. The New Orleans native said she suffers from a heart condition and diabetes and that is a big reason why she hopes she does not have to face down more bad weather anytime soon.
"We talked about what if it happened again," she said. "I guess we'd just have to move to higher ground or retire somewhere on high ground. I can't do it a third time. It took a toll on my health."