On the morning of October 2, with a peak of 135 mph winds, the hurricane struck southeast Louisiana near Cheniere Caminada, on the Louisiana mainland just west of Grand Isle. The hurricane continued to the northeast, and weakened while crossing southeast Louisiana. After crossing the northern Gulf of Mexico for a few hours, the hurricane hit on the night of the 2nd, this time in southeast Mississippi. The storm continued to the northeast, weakening to a tropical storm over Alabama, and moved into the Atlantic Ocean on the 4th. The storm dissipated on the 5th.
As a strengthening hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, the Chenière Caminada Hurricane brought a strong storm surge that flooded much of southeast Louisiana. 779 people died out of the town's 1500 residents from the high winds and flooding from the storm surge. The surge was up to 16 feet, with heavy surf above it. The hurricane caused about 2000 fatalities in total, making it among the deadliest American hurricanes.
The Gulf States were greatly affected by the hurricane. The orange and rice crop were greatly damaged, and combined with destruction of the wind, the hurricane caused about $5 million in damage (1893 USD, $102.6 million in 2005 USD).
Derrick Cameaux shouted into the night, "WHY?" His only answer was the echo of his question reverberating around the dark emptiness. Now, seemingly without any fortitude or desire to subdue his grief, his weeping turned into loud, wailing cries of sorrow. His very soul had been forever branded by an indelible iron, and something had happened to Derrick that night. At his darkest moment, from the deepest recesses of his grief, the first sign of a different emotion had been implanted--vengeance. Unexpectedly, a cool breeze swept across his face as though to wipe away his tears and restore his composure. Though his grief was still present, he was vitally aware that he was alive and there were people depending on him. He would not let them down!
As death and destruction descended upon the region, another brand of destruction was birthed in the form of vengeance!
This story, while fiction, is set in the time of the most horrific hurricane in Louisiana history. This events of the hurricane are true.
"No sooner had my grandfather spoken these words than the camp was violently jolted again and again by tremendous waves. Seven- year-old Bernice lost her balance, fell through the rafters, and was swept away as her screams pierced the thick night air. The waves and wind crashed against the camp, this time knocking out a main outside wall. The roof shifted back and forth above their heads, unable to stand without the support of that missing wall. In another instant, the roof and entire camp came crashing down. Panic gripped everyone, and baby Franny was ripped from my grandmother's breast by the rushing current. My grandfather tried to save as many children as possible by diving and carrying them to the surface, but the splintered wood and debris from the camp made it impossible to reach everyone.
"As my father Augustine gasped for air, one final wave tore into the ruins and swept the remains of the camp away. He later said that above the roar and howl of the storm, he heard my grandmother as she cried, 'My children, my children, where are you, my children!!' He also said it was the last time he ever heard or saw his mother alive.
"My grandfather Jerasine pulled my father and two of his other sons to one of the pirogues. They all hung on for dear life, sometimes swallowing sickening amounts of salt water and choking.
"Throughout the horrid night the screams of the living melded with the howl of the demonic wind. The watery hands of the strong currents ceaselessly tried to drown everyone. My father thought he could no longer hold on to the pirogue. He used to say that, to his surprise, he was at the point where death didn't seem so bad or frightening. Pain permeated his body, especially his arms and hands, and he just knew he couldn't hold on any longer. Then, he sensed that the wind seemed to be dropping. He said that he really thought he was hallucinating, losing his mind just before death would take him. But no, in a short while the wind quit blowing and the rain stopped completely.
A calmness that seemed almost as frightening as everything that had preceded it gradually settled over the land. There were no screams; in fact, no one even said a word for a few minutes. Then my grandfather Jerasine told my father and his other sons to swim for a huge oak tree not twenty fee away. My father said he tried to tell him that he didn't think he could make it, but my grandfather insisted that he must live. He always said he would never forget my grandfather's words to him: 'If for nothing else, my son, you must live to help find your mother and the rest of our family.'
"My father swore that he never could remember how he got to that tree. Immediately my grandfather made the boys climb higher and higher in the tree until they were well out of the water. Then with their belts, he tied his sons' arms to a big branch so they wouldn't be blown away. Next my grandfather told them that the second half of the storm was about to begin and that they must hold on. My father declared that the second half of the storm was every bit as fierce as the first half, but he said that the tree they were in held its ground. He also said that one of the worst things about the whole storm was that throughout the night, they kept calling out to their missing family members, but no one called back.
"For what seemed like an eternity, that beast of a hurricane tried to destroy what few remained alive. By 3:00 a.m., only after having satisfied its appetite for carnage, the dark menace moved further inland. The winds gradually died down to a gentle breeze, the torrential rains stopped, and it seemed that almost instantly the flood waters began to recede as though ashamed of the role it had been forced to play in the mass destruction. The water fled the land quickly, once again seeking the bays and bayous of its natural habitation.
"By daybreak, all the water was gone. Looking from their vantage point high in the top of that tree, daylight brought to them an awful sight. Scattered in every direction as far as they could see, the ground was littered with bodies entangled in debris. They could also see a few other survivors both in treetops and clinging to makeshift rafts. At full light, my grandfather Jerasine began climbing down from the tree; he was soon followed by his three remaining sons. Just as my father was climbing down, he heard my grandfather cry aloud. He said that when he looked down, he saw his oldest sister Alicia hanging from a branch of a nearby tree by her long, beautiful hair."
I read this book in two days. It was impossible to put down! The chapters are short, so if you must take a break, you can wait to finish the chapter. The book is a mixture of all emotions- Happiness, sadness, excitement, fearfulness and so much more. Your imagination doesn't have to wonder with this one. The book is written in great detail. The author does an amazing job "painting the picture". If you are from the south, this book will especially hold a special place in your heart. It reminds us what family is, and if we forgot, what it should be about. But... the ending is almost torture! I can't wait to find out what happens next! When is the next book coming out!?!? ~Amazon Reader
Very hard to put down! The details of every scene make you feel like you are right beside the characters. The reader can smell, see and hear the action! It combines love of family/friends and one's heritage; romance and mystery; and an evil thread. I anticipated a different ending, but was surprised, if not shocked, by it. Not being an avid reader, I'm so glad that I did not miss this read! It was hard in the most suspenseful parts not to read too quickly and miss the very vivid descriptions the author so craftily wove into this book. I look forward to a sequel! ~Ang
This is one you can't put down!!! The twists and turns keep you turning the pages, waiting to see what happens! Unto the Last Seed is an exciting historical fiction novel that contains vivid descriptions by the author that make you believe that you have been transported into the heart of Cajun Country!!! From the beautiful serene swamps to the pesky mosquito's, you feel it all!!! Can't wait for the next novel by this up and coming author!!! Craig J. Leonard, Sr. has now become one of my favorites!!! ~ Nicole Wells
Amazing!!! Fantastic!!! Can't put down!!!
Born and raised on Bayou Lafourche, in south Louisiana, Craig comes from a long line of Cajun storytellers. His Great Great Grandfather was a founding father to his hometown of Golden Meadow. The marshes and swamps of his home state are simply in his DNA and his love for his fellow Cajun people keeps his heart beating. Having lived many years in the Middle East and working with many nationalities has given Craig a deep understanding of not only conflicts of nations but also conflicts of the heart.