As you may have noticed, I’ve been tweeting A LOT about the Louisiana flooding these past few days- for a few reasons:
- It’s a horrible tragedy
- It’s more evidence of intense new extreme weather patterns
- It used to be my home
- I know many people who have lost EVERYTHING
As I watched the flood waters rise through social media as most of the media decidedly was more interested in Donald Trump, Justin Beiber, and other things, I was shocked at my heavy-hearted reaction. I, like many of those there were not new to natural disasters. During my time in graduate school at LSU, went through both hurricanes Gustav and Ike- Gustav taking out my power for 11 days in August. (I almost got arrested for being out after curfew for buying tacos but that’s another story.) But like make of the amazing stories of courage coming out of my former home of Baton Rouge, I was out in and after the storm(s), helping my neighbors and disposing of debris.
This is why I think I’ve had such a reaction of pseudo-‘survivors guilt’. It’s not that I feel bad that I got off clean now living back in the North, but that I left a piece of my heart there and I had no way to rescue it. This was MY community and so far away I have no way of doing my duty this time. But I was proud to see stories like that of the Cajun Navy- ordinary people with fishing boats rescuing their stranded neighbors from the rising waters.
I am also proud of other ex-pats like my grad school friend Sean Illing who wrote a great piece for Salon about the LACK of real media coverage on the issue.
If you want to help, please give below to these local charity sites; locals helping locals is what Louisiana does best.
http://www.cauw.org/flood (Capitol Area United Way)
http://www.gnof.org/NOLApayitforward/ (Greater New Orleans Foundation)
https://www.la-spca.org/news (Louisiana SPCA- pets often get forgotten. I have a rescue cat from BR. Her name is Sometimes, she is an all-around jerk and I love her very much.)
Worst of all was seeing my old neighborhood in pictures from a boat, knowing my favorite apartment is now completely flooded. It isn’t my home anymore, it hasn’t been for years, but it still feels like it’s been ripped away- and none of my possessions are lost. Don’t just PRAY- GIVE, CARE, and, SHARE this so that people know what is happening.
My Louisiana friends and family are amazingly tough- but their story of loss and recovery shouldn’t also be under a sea of non-news and celebrity gossip. I love you #Louisiana.