LAKE CHARLES, La – Oct. 14, 2015 – Hurricane Rita made landfall on the Southwest Louisiana coast on Sept. 24, 2005, inflicting major damage on Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes.  CITGO Petroleum Corporation recently hosted two events to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the storm, celebrating the resilience and teamwork of the Southwest Louisiana community in the hurricane’s aftermath.

On Sept. 24, 10 years to the day after Hurricane Rita’s landfall, the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery marked the release of a new book and documentary, “In the Eye of the Forgotten Storm,” about CITGO employees and the Southwest Louisiana community’s response to Hurricane Rita. CITGO employees and local community leaders gathered at CITGO Lake Charles for the book’s release and to watch a clip of the complementary documentary. At the event, the Office of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave a proclamation to CITGO Lake Charles, for its commitment to Southwest Louisiana and to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Rita. Additionally, U.S. Representative Charles Boustany provided a video message and letter to CITGO employees about the strength of the Southwest Louisiana community following Rita.

“Calcasieu Parish is home to CITGO Lake Charles, and so we know firsthand the impact that Hurricane Rita had on this community,” said Tomeu Vadell, vice president & general manager of the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery. “The people of Southwest Louisiana banded together in extremely tough times, and I personally witnessed many examples of friends and neighbors helping one another. At CITGO, we are honored to recognize this community 10 years after Rita hit.”

Two days later, on Sept. 26, nearly 400 volunteers gathered on Constance Beach, La., part of the Cameron Parish Shoreline, for a day-long dune restoration event hosted by CITGO and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL). Together, the volunteers worked to plant 65,000 dune grass plugs and constructed two miles of sand fence to help prevent coastal erosion. Volunteers were also encouraged to tweet using #plantadune. Each tweet using the hashtag planted a plug of dune grass on a virtual beach at

“The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is glad to continue its strong partnership with CITGO with this year’s Constance Beach dune restoration project,” said Kimberly Davis Reyher, CRCL executive director. “Hurricane Rita made landfall along the stretch of coastline that CITGO and CRCL volunteers have helped to restore. Our volunteers have now planted more than 130,000 grass plugs along the Cameron Parish Shoreline, and we look forward to continuing this good work to honor the Southwest Louisiana community, its people and its environment.”

This year’s dune restoration event was a part of National Estuaries Week, which ran from Sept. 19 to Sept. 26. The event was also a part of the CITGO Caring for Our Coast initiative, started last year as a series of coastal and wetland restoration events to commemorate Hurricanes Katrina and Rita leading into the 10th year of the hurricanes landfall. Since the program’s inception, Caring for Our Coast projects have led more than 1,200 volunteers in restoring 81 acres of coastline and wetlands; planted 70,200 trees, bushes and grass plugs; and removed more than 230 pounds of trash. CITGO and CRCL volunteers had previously joined together to plant 70,000 dune grass plugs along Holly Beach in September of 2014.

“In the Eye of the Forgotten Storm” can be purchased at and Proceeds from sales of the book go to CRCL for SWLA projects. To learn more about Caring for Our Coast and the larger commitment CITGO has made to environmental stewardship, visit: 

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter, and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.


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