Calling Baton Rouge
It just keeps getting worse. The water is receding in the Baton Rouge area, but still rising in Acadiana. About an hour ago, the bottom fell out, and it rained like hell. Then the mobile phones went off with a flash flood warning. You wonder when it will stop.
A friend and reader of this blog was out in Denham Springs today, just east of BR, where 90 percent of the houses took on water. He said it was total devastation. It shook him up bad. I’ve asked him to write something about what he saw, for this blog. He’s going to try. Watch this space. He did say the thing people need more than anything else is help cleaning out their houses — tearing down drywall, etc. He said the elderly without family nearby are going to suffer the hardest, because they can’t do the work themselves, and have no one to do the work for them.
I don’t want to encourage people around the country to get in their cars and come here right now to help, because I don’t know if the city and its region is prepared for that just now. I could be wrong. But please, keep track of this story, and when you see reputable organizations putting out the word to volunteer, come if you can. So many of you did it for New Orleans after Katrina, and we love you for it. Now we in south Louisiana are going to have to ask you for help again. We are helping ourselves, God knows, but the task ahead is immense. An estimated 6.9 trillion gallons of water fell on us in two or three days. Nobody could cope with that alone.
I’ve been hearing from a few Baton Rouge area expats who have been deeply shocked and moved by what they have seen on TV and heard from kinfolks. Here’s a moving piece from The Mighty Favog, a blogger and Baton Rouge native who now lives in Omaha. Excerpts, with visuals in the original:
This is my neighborhood, the one in Baton Rouge where I grew up.
My parents built their first — and only — house there in 1956. I moved in at the end of March 1961 from my previous address at the old Our Lady of the Lake maternity ward.
From 1956 until three days ago, not a drop of unwanted water entered 10645 Darryl Drive unless somebody spilled a glass of it on the floor. Then we mopped it up.
Look at the picture above, taken by the Civil Air Patrol on Sunday. 10645 Darryl Drive is in the bottom fourth, one-third from the left.
There’s not a big enough mop in the world.
Favog expresses gratitude that his parents didn’t live to see this catastrophe. And he profanely expresses exactly what so many of us here feel about the way many in the national media has reported, or failed to report, what’s happened down here (that’s changing now). Normally I bowdlerize profanity quoted here, but it doesn’t seem quite right to do that now:
Louisiana lives matter . . . not that you could tell from watching the evening news or the cable networks, where all the airtime is devoted to more pressing things than the fate of rednecks, coonasses and black folks in a banana republic somewhere in Flyover Country.
Somewhere toward the bottom.
NO, the cable networks are preoccupied by what obviously matters in life, like panels of opposing party hacks yelling at one another over whether Donald Trump’s shit stinks. Tomorrow, Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper will be hosing down the bellowing political hacks as they debate whether Trump was right to be livid that CNN suggested that his shit wasn’t the best shit, the best smelling shit that anyone ever shit. Believe me.
As a former resident of 10645 Darryl Drive, I have an opinion about what these blathering, coastal media elites are full of.
It’s raining as I write this, and thundering, and lightning, and Baton Rouge is under a flash flood warning again. I’m going to repost these words from Thomas Achord, the head of the rhetoric school at Sequitur Classical Academy in Baton Rouge. Thomas lives in Livingston Parish, and spent the past few days in his boat, rescuing people as part of the Cajun Navy. (Note to the classical school community nationwide: more than a few families in the Sequitur family really need your help. They’ve lost everything. Can you stand with them?) He wrote:
Louisiana is most beautiful when it is a great disaster. The entire society spontaneously comes together as if joined by familial ties. No one watches his neighbor suffer but all selflessly and voluntarily go about seeking whom they can help. And they do so with their own personal means – trucks, boats, rafts, chainsaws, shovels, food, and often at risk of their lives. We work hard and we eat grand, we are filthy but laughing, we lose our homes yet are welcomed into others. I have seen finer lands but not people. Keep the world and give me Louisiana, even in disaster.
That’ll lift your spirits. And this. And, if you’re from here, or ever lived here, so will this video below, which was made by a Baton Rouge advertising agency. I just received it from Cate, who I met volunteering with her on the serving line at the Celtic Media shelter last weekend. Watch it, and pass it on to everyone you know who loves the LSU Tigers, south Louisiana, and Baton Rouge. It focuses on this city, but let this city be a stand-in for the huge area surrounding it, and Acadiana too. #LouisianaStrong