The rain came last Thursday, and it didn’t stop until Sunday. As I write this now, the water is slowly subsiding in many parishes, and families are finally beginning to see the brutal extent of the damage done by this historic flood.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve taken a beating in the Capital Area. There have been a lot of people trying to write the story of Baton Rouge for us, but this tragic disaster is allowing us to take that narrative back, to tell the story of our community. Devastated but never destroyed and most importantly, together.
The past week has given me the opportunity to see who we in Baton Rouge really are, and I could not be more proud of what I have seen. I’ve seen this unprecedented flood of water, rise up and bring out the best of who our diverse and loving community is.
There are more donations pouring into shelters than they can even hold. Movie soundstages were filled to capacity, where I and others who still have dry homes, came to help those being evacuated.
I’ve seen our friends and neighbors coming together to rescue and help one another, LSU students have formed bands of volunteers with their friends. I’ve seen Sportsmen, fishermen and anyone else who owns a flat bottom boat join the ranks of the ‘Cajun Navy’. I’ve watched Police officers, firefighters, first responders and medical personal who have lost everything themselves – some evacuated more than once from their homes and then again from temporary homes – working 18+ hour days to rescue and help those who are stranded.
And I have seen educators show up at temporary shelters without being asked, to work with children who are displaced from their schools ‘until further notice’; using the lesson plans they had lovingly crafted for their first days of school to help distract the little ones in shelters across our state. Those same amazing teachers of Louisiana, many of whom have lost everything too, are still more concerned about their students and their classrooms than they are for their own material losses.
#LouisianaStrong isn’t just a social media hashtag – it’s a way of life to us.
Our shoes may be wet, our bodies may be tired and sore, but our hearts, our determination and our resolve to take care of business, take care of our families, our friends, our neighbors, our schools, our state is strong. That’s what it means to be united together and that’s what it means to be #LouisianaStrong.
To those of you looking to help – we’ve compiled a list of ways that you can help students, teachers and parents in the hardest hit flood areas: http://bit.ly/2b3NTyO
To my fellow Louisianans – keep standing strong. The road ahead of us may be long and the waters we move through may be deep, but we’ve got this, together.