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By Rich Grassi

On the morning of August 27, 2020, Hurricane Laura made landfall on the coast of Louisiana. Causing damage across three states, reports indicated that most of the damage was done in Louisiana. Homes were flattened, commercial buildings damaged, parts of coastal Louisiana were swamped and at least six were killed. Power was out over a broad area for extended periods of time.

A lot of people suffered losses. A good many worked to the point of exhaustion helping neighbors and family members in effecting temporary repairs. There was heat and the increased threats of disease in the era of pandemic. It’s a bad time.

Included in the damage was the Southwest Louisiana Rifle and Pistol Club, outside of Lake Charles. Located in a flood plain -– it’s handy to have a shooting range on property that can’t be easily developed into residential housing –- they took a bad hit. None of the structures could be insured, so it’s on the club to demolish, clear, rebuild and repair.

David Surgi, of Secure Firearms Products, reached out to me to advise of the situation. Home of the “Crawfish Cup,” among other national level matches, the SWLA Rifle and Pistol Club had NRA Action Pistol facilities amongst their range offerings. Buildings, target systems and barricades were damaged.

I’ve never been to the facility, but I’m told it’s comprehensive. It features dedicated ranges including a moving target range, falling plate range, bullseye range, a general shooting range, pistol benchrest range, action pistol barricade/practical range, small bore rifle range, steel bay, and a big bore rifle range.

The pavilion is shown before Hurricane Laura, above, and since the storm, below.

According to a club official, the club regularly hosts one of the largest action pistol regional championships in the country attracting top competitors — as it takes place approximately one month prior to the Bianchi Cup National Action Pistol Championship. Their action pistol ranges are among the best in the country. They also regularly host state and regional national benchrest association championships and hosted the national championship a few years ago.

Established in 1947, the Southwest Louisiana Rifle and Pistol Club, Inc. is described as “… a close-knit group of sportsmen and sportswomen that have trained a lot of children since 1947 and they have done a lot of good for their community year after year …”

The damage is itemized as follows:

  • Rifle shooting shed cover 30% destroyed
  • 60’ x 60’ open-air pavilion destroyed
  • 30 x 30 rifle storage and stat building destroyed.
  • 30 x 50 main workshop, storage and stat building roof destroyed
  • 30 x 50 awning attached to main workshop building destroyed
  • 5 dense wood range separation walls damaged or down (labor intensive)
  • Main entrance gate damaged
  • 3 of 16 Bianchi barricades are damaged beyond repair
  • Likely $150,000 to $200,000 damage
  • Upon initial inspection, most of the target equipment seems to be undamaged.

They have been unable to get into the rooms inside of the building yet to determine damages.

After the disaster, it took little time for Doug Carden to find a way to arrange donations for the club so it could be restored and operations could continue. Dave had me check in with George Mowbray, of the club, for more information about storm damage as well as images of the destruction.

Doug set up a donation site here for those of us in the industry — as well as competitors and well-wishers — to send in some needed relief funds. The range is currently closed for shooting.

In the aftermath of the killer storm, media interviewed people in the area. A number of them noted that Laura was more damaging than Hurricane Rita in 2005, and that was the most destructive in years. Lots of folks are hurting down there, while the rest of us are distracted by the Washington political circus, the national temper tantrum and fears of infection.

I believe the industry cares and hope we can give these folks a hand.



This post was originally published at The Shooting Wire and is republished here with permission.

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  1. Rebuild it so it won’t be damaged by a hurricane. is a good place to start. Be the 3rd little pig who built his house out of brick/stone. Reinforced concrete is man-made stone and nearly impervious to natural disasters. I lived in a concrete duplex on Anderson Air Force Base on Guam when Typhoon Pamela hit in 1976. We just got had a little water leak in that ruined our carpet. The wind had no effect. It doesn’t make sense anymore to build a structure out of sticks(2x4s) that are susceptible to fire, wind, hail, etc. And it costs about the same as regular construction methods and utilities and insurance will be lower expenses due to ruggedness and insulation.

    • Texican has the right idea. I was at Kadena AFB on Okinawa for 18 months in 1962-63. Barracks all were reinforced concrete. I think even the electric lines were all underground on base. Only telephone poles were for communications antennas and they were guyed 4 ways. While assigned to Okinawa I did spend 3 weeks at Anderson AFB and flew out to Rota on a coast guard SA16 which was as ruff a ride as a typhoon, almost. I suggest spend a little/lot more and make the structures as strong as possible. If it was being done in 1962 it surely can be done now.

    • I second Texican’s comment. I helped rebuild a devastated home in Biloxi, Mississippi after hurricane Katrina: I left thinking that it was foolish to rebuild the same construction in the same location since another hurricane would do the same thing in the next several years.

      In my opinion the only sensible way to build in hurricane territory is with masonry materials as Texican indicated. And building interiors would have to be somewhat unique to allow for flooding which requires nothing more than replacing furniture and hosing out the building to be habitable once again after flooding. (Not sure if there is an insulation method which flooding would not degrade or require replacement after flooding.)

      Look at it this way. No one should build in avalanche rubble at the base of a high mountain because future avalanches (of both earthen material and snow) are a certainty. So why would anyone build in the equivalent zone along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts where hurricanes are a certainty and will destroy non-masonry construction?

      • “So why would anyone build in the equivalent zone along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts where hurricanes are a certainty and will destroy non-masonry construction?”

        Homeowners Insurance and federal disaster relief funds.

  2. Instead of talking about how it could/should have been done, let’s talk about how we can help our brothers and sisters in arms. I’m good for $500.

  3. It’s crawdad,,,,, not crawfish, or mud bug, or crayfish. Somebody wrote a song about them. ,,,Well my feelings go out however, monetarily, I am of no use.

    • Crawfish, crayfish, and crawdads are the same animal. Which term you use may depend much on where you live. Louisianans most often say crawfish, whereas Northerners are more likely to say crayfish. People from the West Coast or Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas often use the term crawdad.
      Since this is in Louisiana Crawfish is proper.
      Also, mudbug and crawdad but more often simply crawfish is the word.
      I live in south Louisiana, but don’t take my word……google it.

      • “Crawfish, crayfish, and crawdads are the same animal. Which term you use may depend much on where you live. ”

        I’ve been everywhere, man
        I’ve been everywhere, man
        ‘Cross the deserts bare, man
        I’ve breathed the mountain air, man
        Of travel, I’ve had my share, man
        I’ve been everywhere.*

        They’s called “Rock Lobster” in finer circles.


  4. The news last night had the satellite image of five storms spinning across the Atlantic at the same time. Hasn’t been this many seen at once since 1971.

    If I was in that club I’d vote to hold off on rebuilding. Collect the donations, secure all the property they can from damaged and collapsed structures and reassess because there are only going to be more hits coming.

    Rebuild stronger to not see it all destroyed again.

    Google Maps Sat View of the club:

    Say hello to Sally, Paulette, Rene, Vicky and Teddy


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