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Iberia Parish President Larry Richard has declared a parish-wide — including municipalities — curfew that takes effect Wednesday night at 9 p.m. as Hurricane Laura bears down on the Teche Area.

Richard said the curfew would be in place from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. until lifted.

Earlier, Richard sent out a statement reinforcing the voluntary evacuation order and emergency declaration he issued last week as Hurricane Laura begins moving across the Gulf of Mexico.

"The weather models and predicted path of Hurricane Laura appear very similar to those of Hurricane Rita, which caused major flooding and property damage in Iberia Parish," Richard said in the statement. "I am urging all residents of Iberia Parish to consider evacuating as soon as possible."

Richard also emphasized several groups who should evacuate ahead of the storm, including:

- Residents who experienced flooding during Hurricane Rita,

- Residents living in areas prone to potential storm surge,

- Those living in low-lying areas along bayous and lakes where flooding has occurred in the past,

- Those who do not have hurricane-safe housing, and

- Those with special medical or transportation needs.

Richard said that those who choose to remain behind may find themselves without power, water or essential service. He also cautioned that in the case of a severe flooding event, residents who do not heed the evacuation order may find themselves in need of lifesaving help at a time when no help is available.

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