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Obama: ‘America, Please Help Louisiana’

President Obama said today, in Louisiana, in part: [1]

To give you a sense of the magnitude of the situation here, more than 100,000 people have applied for federal assistance so far. As of today, federal support has reached $127 million. That’s for help like temporary rental assistance, essential home repairs, and flood insurance payments.

FEMA is also working with Louisiana around the clock to help people who were displaced by floods find temporary housing. And any Louisiana family that needs help, you can find your nearest disaster recovery center by visiting FEMA.gov [2], or calling 1-800-621-FEMA. I’m going to repeat that: FEMA.gov [2], or 1-800-621-FEMA.

Now, federal assistance alone is not going to be enough to make people’s lives whole again. So I’m asking every American to do what you can to help get families and local businesses back on their feet. If you want help — if you want to help, Governor Edwards put together some ways to start at VolunteerLouisiana.gov [3]. That’s VolunteerLouisiana.gov [3].

And the reason this is important is because even though federal money is moving out, volunteer help actually helps the state because it can offset some of its costs. Obviously, private donations are going to be extremely important, as well. We want to thank the Red Cross for everything they’re doing, but there are a lot of private, philanthropic organizations, churches, parishes around the state and around the country who want to help, as well. And that how we’re going to make sure that everybody is able to get back on their feet.

So let me just remind folks: Sometimes once the floodwaters pass, people’s attention spans pass. This is not a one-off. This is not a photo op issue. This is, how do you make sure that a month from now, three months from now, six months from now, people still are getting the help that they need. I need all Americans to stay focused on this. If you’re watching this today, make sure that you find out how you can help. You can go to VolunteerLouisiana.gov [3], or you can go to FEMA.gov [2]. We’ll tell you, we’ll direct you — you can go to WhiteHouse.gov [4], and we’ll direct you how you can help.

But we’re going to need to stay on this, because these are some good people down here. We’re glad that the families I had a chance to meet are safe, but they’ve got a lot of work to do, and they shouldn’t have to do it alone.

I have criticized him hard on this topic, but I will not say anything today other than to thank him for saying these things today, and to strongly, even desperately, encourage you all to listen to his words, and help as you can. I watched a national news report on the clean-up last night, and if that’s all I knew about what the situation in Louisiana was like, I would have assumed that people here have everything well in hand.

It’s not true. It’s not remotely true. Folks here are working very, very hard, in scorching heat and humidity. But we need help.

To give you an idea of the scope of this thing, a National Weather Service meteorologist said that 11,000 square miles of the state had at least 15 inches of rain within 48 hours [5] (some had more). That’s more than the entire state of Massachusetts. Imagine every square mile of Massachusetts underwater. That’s the scale we’re talking about here.

I’m working on a very tight and immovable deadline to finish my Benedict Option book, and unfortunately, all the stress of the closing of our church, the move, and now the flood appears to have reactivated my chronic mono. I’m hoping that it’s just a flare-up and not the real thing, but the past few days have been hard. I’m hoping, though, that things improve, and that next week I can go out into the field and do some reporting for this site.

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23 Comments (Open | Close)

23 Comments To "Obama: ‘America, Please Help Louisiana’"

#1 Comment By WillW On August 23, 2016 @ 7:45 pm

Rod, I say this with love and concern: You have got to level out. You say that in real life you’re actually a pretty jovial guy, and that came across the time I got to see you in person. That being said, all the posts about how the LGBT liberals will not rest until we toe the party line are just…overwhelming. The majority of your “small o” orthodox readership understands what perilous times these are. However, to be quite blunt my own mental health is suffering with the non stop pounding away. Please look around at all the good being done in the midst of such a great tragedy. (Indeed your blogging from the scene has been excellent) TL, DR Rod…we get it. Too much focus….is actually not good.

#2 Comment By John On August 23, 2016 @ 7:54 pm

Like Trump (but less forgivable since he is the president) “Too little. Too late.” If, as asserted, he was advised that that a visit would only interfere with the relief efforts he should have spoken out from Martha’s Vineyard and at least create some coverage to the crisis down there.,

#3 Comment By Anonne On August 23, 2016 @ 8:45 pm

Please be well, Rod, and take good care of yourself.

#4 Comment By kijunshi On August 23, 2016 @ 8:55 pm

Aw! Now I feel bad that I left a critical comment 🙁 Try and get some rest as best you can, Rod – I’m certain the book will sell very well. You crashed the AC site with the popularity of your JD Vance article, so your job too is in no danger! And your family is in good health and your home safe. The people of Louisiana has done amazing things in this crisis, even impressing a blue-state liberal like me (and making me wonder if my state would be as resilient). Even these times are good times, really… take a moment and a glass of wine, relax, appreciate what you have and this moment 🙂

#5 Comment By al On August 23, 2016 @ 9:37 pm

“Too little. Too late.”

This is from the conversation between Sen. Russell and president Johnson that has been referenced.

“Now, if you want to go to Louisiana right now— You lost that state last year. You could pick it up just like looking at it right now by going down there as the President just to see what happened. . . . Just go, and say, “My God, this is horrible! . . . These federally constructed levees that Hale Boggs and Russell Long built is the only thing that saved five thousand lives.”

[6]

And they were old friends and colleagues and still political interest had to be invoked to get a quick visit. I suspect that the pres. depends on staff and staff depends on the media, so we have either a virtuous or vicious circle depending on how the media does its job.

What is important and is hardly mentioned at all is the complete absence of congressional leadership. Where are Ryan and McConnell? The president can only spend what has been appropriated and the law needs to be changed to reflect current reality. We now have three critical matters – Zika, La. flooding, and fires in the West – that are going to need immediate congressional action. Perhaps everyone should base their vote on the willingness of their congressman to support stand alone legislation on aid bills for these issues.

#6 Comment By russ On August 23, 2016 @ 10:12 pm

Rod, you’ve done an excellent job reporting on the destruction wrought by the unprecedented tornado in Kentucky. I never would have known about it if it wasn’t for you 😉

Get some rest and finish your book, which is also quite important.

#7 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 23, 2016 @ 10:28 pm

I have criticized him hard on this topic, but I will not say anything today other than to thank him for saying these things today…

I have criticized your criticisms hard, but I will say nothing further today either. President Obama did the right thing, perhaps a little late, and you acknowledged it.

John… don’t be petty.

#8 Comment By Winston On August 23, 2016 @ 10:33 pm

Rod, check this out:

[7]
Suburban sprawl and poor preparation worsened flood damage in Louisiana

#9 Comment By Winston On August 23, 2016 @ 10:37 pm

Rod,

Your health comes first.

Tak care, get rest.

Winston

#10 Comment By lily On August 23, 2016 @ 11:00 pm

I don’t like the man (Obama) and don’t believe he is a person of good will, and don’t believe he really cares about anything outside is own circle of family and friends.

Still, its good to help people who’ve been in a disaster.

#11 Comment By trev006 On August 24, 2016 @ 12:37 am

When Trump visited your state and brought support, you outright said it was out of crass political motive. Even if it was respectful.

I really do want to know: what makes Obama worthy of such respect? He is part of the concerted effort to declare war on your religion, and he only came to disburse taxpayer funds once his taxpayer funded vacation ended. Are his manners and status really what gives him so much more credit with you than Trump gets?

That isn’t rhetorical, by the way. If that’s not the reason, what is?

#12 Comment By Dan On August 24, 2016 @ 3:10 am

Rod take care and look after yourself first, you family and neighbours next and books may have to wait.

In terms of national politics it looks like the national media and the national politicians have not paid enough attention to the terrible flooding, I have some sympathy for the argument that the President and his entourage would just get in the way in the early days of such a disaster, but there is nothing stopping him speaking from DC or Martha’s Vineyard.

The other problem you have is a congress which thinks the Federal Government should do nothing as a principle. LA times link below but of course NY and NJ are remembering as well, [8]

#13 Comment By JonF On August 24, 2016 @ 6:11 am

Please do take care of yourself first and foremost. You’ve had a stressful summer, to say the least. Stress is a major contributor to ill health. Last month I let several stresses get the better of me, and ended up with pneumonia.

#14 Comment By dave On August 24, 2016 @ 6:24 am

I think that was well said by President Obama. @ trev006, my own take is that there’s a difference between campaigning and governing; and from what I remember, Trump was more or less saying he was it; what Obama said was we all need to help, and that help needs to be sustained.

I’m not presently going back to check on what Trump said, relying instead on memory, so could very well be wrong.

#15 Comment By David Peterson On August 24, 2016 @ 7:43 am

I get so tired of the knee-jerk criticism leveled at Obama regardless of what he does. Had he gone to Louisiana immediately after the flood he would have been pilloried for what would have been described as a self-serving photo opportunity. Now, we’re hearing from some commenters that he finally did the right thing, said the right words but was (probably) entirely disingenuous.
No, what he did do, without fanfare, was ensure, through agencies and personnel, that the federal government mechanisms were in place to assist on a massive scale. Had he been down there a week ago spending a few minutes unloading a truck full of Play-Do, would that have been what Louisianans needed? Would that have bolstered their spirits and helped call attention to the nation of the real help required?
The mercy in all this awful event is that there was no more loss of life. To put people’s lives together again should be the focus as RD, and the President, have expressed.

#16 Comment By Emmie On August 24, 2016 @ 8:02 am

Rod,
please know that you and Louisianna are in my prayers as well as all who are able to be on the ground helping. I too suffer from chronic mono flare ups especially during times of great stress.
Remember the words of Saint Paisos:
“What I see around me would drive me insane if I did not know that no matter what happens, God will have the last word.”

#17 Comment By Gerrit On August 24, 2016 @ 8:28 am

Rod, do take care of your health. The past few months have been quite a ride for you. Will add your health to the prayers for the people of La.

Thank you, Winston, for posting the article on suburban sprawl. In the era of rapid climate change, there is now zero margin for error in land use planning.

#18 Comment By Argon On August 24, 2016 @ 9:00 am

trev006 writes: “…he only came to disburse taxpayer funds once his taxpayer funded vacation ended.”

Obama authorized support for Louisiana previously. A Federal disaster was declared on the 14th and [9]

#19 Comment By NotFromHere On August 24, 2016 @ 10:15 am

You’ve helped bring the attention and concern of many to bear on your community’s needs. Attend to your book and then get some rest, friend. We need you well-rested for the next fight. (The Benedict Option cover looks beautiful, btw!)

#20 Comment By Clint On August 24, 2016 @ 10:22 am

God will help ya feel better real soon.

Next,while leftist haters are attempting to dispute it,
CNN reporter, Ashley Killough confirmed on Twitter:
Trump donated $100k to a La. church helping w/ flood relief effort, along w/ truck of supplies he helped unload Friday, per his spokeswoman

#21 Comment By LolaM On August 24, 2016 @ 10:56 am

God bless you, Rod. Do take care of yourself. And not just physically, but emotionally. It’s really OK; God can work good into whatever evil we stir up.

#22 Comment By John N On August 24, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

Clint:

Or not. Apparently he doesn’t carry checks. Or something. Or keep receipts.

[10]

#23 Comment By Nelson On August 25, 2016 @ 9:54 am

Get well soon man.