Lake Charles Resident Claims $730,000 Lotto Jackpot Prize
Tucked away in a plastic bag with receipts and other paperwork, the $730,215 Lotto jackpot-winning ticket for the Aug. 30 drawing survived not one, but two hurricane evacuations with the Norwood family from Lake Charles. But it wasn't until last Sunday that Earl Norwood Jr. realized the well traveled ticket was a winner.
He claimed the prize yesterday at the Lottery's Baton Rouge headquarters with his wife Carol and their three daughters.
"We had the ticket in a plastic baggie that we were keeping receipts in," recalled Angela Meche, one of Norwood's daughters who evacuated for Hurricane Gustav only to have to leave again the very next week in advance of Hurricane Ike. "When we returned after Ike, we were concentrating on cleaning up after the storm and forgot about the ticket."
Later that week, Carol Norwood saw a news story about a winning ticket from the Aug. 30 drawing that had not yet been claimed. "I remember hoping that someone hadn't lost their ticket, not realizing that it was us," she said.
Then a day later, Meche went to Albertson's #2717 on Ryan Street in Lake Charles and saw a banner posted in the store that read "We Sold the Winning Ticket Here!" She inquired about the ticket and was told that it had not been claimed.
The family didn't realize that they were the winners until Earl Norwood stopped to buy some drinks and have his tickets validated. "The clerk told me the first ticket was a $3 winner," he recalled. "When she scanned the second one, she told me I would need to call a Lottery office."
"When he told me that we had won, I asked about the drawing date because all I could think about was that news story," exclaimed Carol Norwood. "We ran to check the numbers on the Web site and I couldn't believe it! We didn't sleep a wink that night."
The winning numbers for the Aug. 30 Lotto drawing were 6-18-21-23-25-27.
The Norwood's plan to share their winnings with their daughters, Angela Meche and Kimberly Conner, both of Lake Charles, and Deisha Norwood of Monterey.
Albertson's #2717 received a one-time bonus of $7,302, or 1 percent of the jackpot prize, for selling the winning ticket.
"We're thrilled the winning jackpot ticket was sold here at Albertsons and are certainly glad the winner is one of our regular customers," said Albertsons Store Director Kenward Alexander.
Ticket purchasers must be at least 21 years of age. Draw style tickets must be claimed within 180 days of the drawing. Anyone who may have a gambling problem or friends and family of anyone with a gambling problem should call toll free 1-877-770-7867 for help. For security purposes, the Lottery strongly encourages players to sign the back of their tickets immediately after purchasing.