Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Heartbroken for Denham Springs

It appears that the last time that I came to this blog to write, I wrote about the turmoil that was happening around my home state of Louisiana, and yet, here I am again with heartbreak over my hometown of  Denham Springs.

You may not have heard about the devastating floods that have swept through and decimated entire cities and parishes.  What started out as a normal Friday for many, has turned into a living nightmare  that  they can't wake.

Summer rainstorms are nothing new for South Louisiana,  but Friday's storm would be one for the record books.  I was unaware of what was happening until my sister-in-law texted me Friday morning to tell me her parents were picking up their furniture and water was at the slab of their house.  A house that had never flooded - ever.

My brother packed his family up from the beach vacation they had been waiting on for so long to begin the drive home in terrible storms and flash flooding.  He is a nursing home administrator and needed to get to work because things were turning into a state of emergency.

Her family evacuated and stayed at their home Friday night, but on Saturday morning, I received a text saying they were evacuating from their home because the water was getting to close and they didn't know if they would be able to get out.  So, again they traveled with precious possessions to my parents home.

Saturday my Facebook feed was flooded with texts of people needing rescuing by boat.  Images of rising water vividly showed how quickly the situation was deteriorating.  One by one, friends began posting they were evacuating if possible, or getting rescued by boat, or waiting for help to arrive.  Life quickly began to look very similar to Hurricane Katrina.  Pictures like these began appearing (Photo credit: Jeff Morgan)





And then, you see one like this, and it rattles you to your core. The wife of a friend, anxiously awaiting the birth of her baby, but is now wading out with a few possessions on her back.


This wasn't a normal storm, or even a normal flood.  My hometown has been wiped off the map.  My immediate family thankfully are in the 10% of homes that weren't flooded, but my friends' list on Facebook is full of people who have lost their possessions and must start over in their homes.  Most have lost at least one vehicle.  Most have lost their source of income because 75% of businesses were also affected.  Schools have been closed until further notice.

In 2005, I was in Louisiana for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.  Denham Springs and Baton  Rouge opened their arms wide and took the people of New Orleans into our homes, businesses, classrooms, and lives.  Now, the people of Denham Springs and Baton Rouge are seeking the same.

But, in the midst of the despair, there was pride.  My friends and family took to deploying the Cajun Navy, a fleet of good people with boats, to go door to door to rescue people and pets.  Neighbors took in neighbors.  There was no consideration of race or socio-economic status.  People simply helped people.  

There was no waiting for someone else to lead the charge.  The people of Louisiana stood together and came in droves to lend a helping hand.  

This girl was proud, prouder than she ever has been of her state, of her people.