I just wanted to assure all my readers: yes, in spite of the horrific flooding in Louisiana, my family and I are all fine. Our house is safe. Light debris, very full ponds, and washed-out gravel in the driveways are the only indications that anything was ever out of the ordinary on our street.
Drive about 20 minutes from our house, though, and only two or three days ago things looked radically different.
The above picture was taken on Saturday by a drone, and shows one of the main highways in Zachary, Louisiana. This is one of the roads we use to get to and from our house. The water’s gone down since then and the road is now open, but all those houses…their owners have a long, hard road to recovery ahead of them.
Friday morning I woke to a surprisingly heavy downpour. While I read my Bible and drank my coffee I could hear the rain pounding on the roof, along with…“wait, is that WIND?!” I actually jumped up from the couch and put my ear to a window, because it sounded more like a hurricane blowing in than a regular old Louisiana thunderstorm.
The rain just didn’t let up. Roads started to flood in Baton Rouge. By noon my mom was texting my dad, who works in Prairieville, just south of Baton Rouge: “Do you think you need to come home early?” He said no; the main highways out of the capital would stay open.
That picture above? That’s just one of those main highways he was talking about. By three o’clock it was obvious he wouldn’t be able to come home. But surely he’d be able to come home for the weekend, right?
Saturday morning it was STILL raining. Denham Springs, a prosperous little town west of Baton Rouge where my brother and his wife had their apartment, started flooding. TJ and Jenni tried to leave to meet up with her family but had to turn around immediately; the water had gotten too high in the streets. By that evening, the water had filled up their apartment complex’s parking lot. By Sunday morning, the water was up to the wheels of their cars.
And no, Daddy still couldn’t get home, either.
TJ, Jenni, and her sister ended up evacuating. They spent most of Sunday sheltering at a gas station before a boat finally picked them up and took them down the flooded interstate, until they got to a point where a truck took them to meet up with Daddy. By then some of the routes to our house were open, and the three of them finally came here in time for a warm supper, showers, and clean beds.
I choked up when Jenni walked into our house and wrapped me in a tight hug. I was so glad to see her safe and sound.
Many have not been so fortunate. Thousands of people, including Jenni’s family, have lost everything. It’s been a very stressful time, whether you’ve been flooded out and you’re trying to make it to high ground, or if you’re on dry ground like my mom, siblings, and I, waiting to hear from your friends and loved ones. And the bad thing is that nobody really expected this. It wasn’t like a hurricane where you had days in advance to get ready, stock your pantries, and hunker down.
In spite of all the tragedy, though, there have been some wonderful bright spots. Our community has had a very rough summer, between the racial protests and police shootings and now “the Great Flood of 2016”–but we’ve pulled together! They’ve turned a movie studio and the Baton Rouge River Center into shelters; churches are making meals for the first responders; neighbors are helping pull out carpet and sheetrock. Best of all, the “Cajun Navy” has set off in fishing boats everyday to rescue people off the streets or out of their homes.
Let nary a negative word be spoken against rednecks, ever ever again. Rednecks get the job done.
Keep Louisiana in your prayers, please. We haven’t experienced anything like this since Katrina, and yet between this
stupid election and heaven knows what else, it doesn’t look like we’re getting a lot of coverage on the news. Part of that is because we’re handling it without much drama; we’re just getting the job done, and quietly going about our business doesn’t exactly make headlines. But we need the prayers, so please don’t forget about us.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.