Dealers grapple with hurricane devastation in La.


Hurricane Laura left behind major destruction this week in Louisiana, and auto dealers on Friday were still trying to assess the damage.

The Associated Press said a full assessment could take days. Laura was responsible for at least six deaths as the hurricane uprooted trees, causing them to fall on homes.

Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association President Will Green told Automotive News in an email Friday that he is continuing to check in with dealers throughout the state as they survey the damage at their stores.

“There are still many without power and water in the areas most affected,” he wrote. “I have been encouraged by the support I have seen from surrounding dealers whether that be offering of generators or volunteering help and support.”

He said it is too early to tell how long dealerships will remain closed.

Lake Charles, La., dealer Phillip Tarver said Thursday there is no electricity or water available in the area, about 50 miles north of Cameron, La., where the hurricane made landfall.

His dealership has not experienced flooding on the lot or in the dealership. He told Automotive News: “We are OK.”

East of Lake Charles, dealer Art LeBlanc told Automotive News on Friday that he hoped to reopen two stores in Jennings, La., next week.

Of the seven new-car dealerships and five standalone, preowned stores in LeBlanc’s Sterling Automotive Group, the Buick-GMC and Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram stores in Jennings were damaged by water from rain blowing indoors, he said. The Chrysler store also had wind damage to siding and the roof.

The rest of his dealerships are farther east toward Lafayette and Opelousas and did not receive the heaviest rain and wind from Laura, LeBlanc said. All but the Jennings locations were open Friday, he added.

“We escaped the brunt of it,” he said.

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