As many of you know, I'm from Louisiana. And no bones about it, I'm very proud of that. I love my home state and miss it terribly. So, it's with a broken heart that I write this blog post. By now I'm hoping that you've at least heard about the devastating flood in my home state of Louisiana. I'm not sure, though. Major news media has done little reporting on the catastrophic losses suffered by so many Louisiana flood victims.
My heavy heart and guilty conscious prevented me from posting my scheduled travel post. It felt too disingenuous to post something about traveling, even though that's what I was doing when the flooding began. So, instead, I'm posting about ways in which you can help Louisiana flood victims, many of which are in desperate need of your support.
Over the past several days I've heard and read many comments about how folks in Louisiana should be used to this kind of weather. Sure, Louisiana has seen her fair share of in-climate weather in the past, most notably Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Issac in recent years. Or you might remember the terrible flooding of North-Central Louisiana just last year.
The truth is that, yes, the weather in Louisiana is temperamental. Sure, it rains A LOT. And water rises along the Mississippi and her tributaries on a regular basis. But not in my lifetime (or the lifetime of most of my elders) has there been anything like this. Tens of thousands of homes, businesses, schools, churches, clinics, day cares, and even our flagship University have sustained flood damage.
In fact, entire communities are predicted to be lost. Denham Springs, a large suburb of the capitol city of Baton Rouge, has sustained severe damage. Over 90% of the homes in the city were flooded, forcing residents into make-shift shelters for who knows how long. This is no joke, y'all.
On Saturday, August 13, my mother sent me a text saying the water in the bayou outside their home in New Roads was rising. We exchanged a few texts before I told her to please be careful and keep me informed. I was on the road, visiting family in New York. By the time my plane landed in Los Angeles less than 24 hours later the flood waters throughout their area had risen significantly.
I spent my entire Sunday trying frantically to reach my parents to no avail. All AT&T cell service was lost that day, rendering people like me desperate for information. Being unable to contact loved ones in a state of emergency is absolutely terrifying. I don't wish that feeling on anyone.
Like many, I turned to Facebook for updates, finding that many people were still able to post using random WiFi signals. Seeing the devastation and panic in the pictures and posts my friends were making on FB was sickening. Shivers ran up my spine remembering what it was like in 2005 waiting for any information about New Orleans during the devastating flood of Katrina. No word is no good.
I drew a sharp breath of relief when I finally spoke to my sister later that day. During our short call I learned that she, her young son and my parents were alive and safe. Although waters had risen, there was none in the house at the time.
I also learned that my 95 y/o grandmother had been evacuated by boat the previous day as a precaution. By the very next day my parents had to evacuate their home, which had now started to take on water. Several days later we are still waiting for the water to recede.
The footage below is of the flooding now surrounding my parent's home just outside of Baton Rouge. The flood waters throughout South Louisiana remain high in areas, as the excess waters from rivers, lakes and canals literally have no were to go.
Many people in Louisiana, like my parents, live paycheck-to-paycheck. Most are hard-working, family-oriented people who deserve our support. Repairing, rebuilding and recovering will require the hard work and support.
Louisiana's people, my people, are resilient. They have and will thrive in this crisis. They have come together to help each other in the past, and I'm convinced they will again. But Louisiana can't do it on her own. Not with devastation like this.
Hopefully by now you're wondering what you can do to help the Louisiana flood victims. If you are in the area, please contact your local authorities to find out what is needed at your local shelters. If not your time or skills, please consider donating nonperishable food items, clothing or medical supplies.
For those of you outside the affected areas, please consider donating to any one of these reputable organizations previously mentioned by CNN.com or NOLA.com. Nothing will ever replace the homes, belongings or lives lost. But knowing there is a community of kind, generous people may bring a little light in this dark and trying time.
How You Can Help Louisiana Flood Victims
American Red Cross (select Louisiana Floods)
Thanks to each and every one of the people who read this in support of the Louisiana flood victims. An even bigger thanks to people who share. And a wholehearted THANK YOU from me and all of Louisiana for those of you who contribute. It's times like this that we are reminded of the power of the Internet and of human kindness.
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Thanks for all your support. It means the world to me. Until next time my friends!
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