Morgan City residents not concerned about Lee

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POSTED: Friday, September 2, 2011 - 9:16pm

UPDATED: Saturday, September 3, 2011 - 4:45pm

Morgan City is bracing for a possible direct hit once Tropical Storm Lee slams into Louisiana. They're expecting more than a foot of rain over the weekend, but residents aren't panicking.

Most folks in Morgan City are out in the rainy weather, spending time at the 33rd annual Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. It always falls on Labor Day weekend, rain or shine, and this year is no different.

Vendor Dustin Sameniego isn't scared off by a little rain. "It's a little scary, but its nothing we can't handle," he says.

The Arkansas resident has been coming to the annual festival in Morgan City for the last nine years, and Friday's weather isn't the worst that he has seen. "This ain't nothing," he laughs.

The festival is going on as planned, despite the dismal weather, and local residents are taking advantage of it.

"The rain might be worse tomorrow," says Arnold Stranda. "So I wanted to take my grandson out tonight and let him enjoy himself."

He has only missed the festival once in 18 years, and that was during Hurricane Gustav.

"I hope they don't cancel it this weekend," he says.

Police chief Mark Folse has been watching the weather closely. Like most residents in the area, he doesn't expect Tropical Storm Lee to shut down the fun.

"It just makes everything we do wet," he says.

As for Sameniego, he's keeping his eyes on the sky. "We just watch it, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, to see what's going to happen."

He's hoping to ride out the storm from right under his tent. "If you're a hardcore vendor, you gotta do what you gotta do."

Police say they're prepared for a storm like Lee, so this hasn't caught them off-guard at all. Again, officials are monitoring the storm, but as of Friday night, the festival is still on.

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