I spent the weekend traveling across South Louisiana from Livingston Parish where 100,000 of the 130,000 people’s homes were affected, to Baton Rouge, to Ascension Parish where there are still towns and neighborhoods cut off and under water. Everywhere I went, the devastation was plain to see – and overwhelming. This is a different kind of disaster. The outside of buildings are okay, but the insides of homes, churches, and businesses are ruined. And, the destruction goes on for miles and miles and miles.
Hundreds of thousands of people have lost everything. The vast majority had no flood insurance because places flooded that have NEVER flooded before. They are calling this a 500 year flood. I met many people who are working very hard to try and save their homes, but they are in a race against time. Flood waters have not even receded everywhere.
While Baptist Disaster Relief teams have come and are working, they are few in number. Many, many more are needed. I heard from so many people telling me, “Please go back and send word and ask people to come.” The media has largely ignored this story and the result is that volunteers have not come for this like they have for other disasters.
I texted my friend and journalist, Rod Dreher (Benedict Option proponent) while I was there, and he turned some of my texts into a story to chronicle what has happened. I am reposting this here because it says better than what I can say at this moment. I texted this to Rod when I was in the middle of it yesterday:
Was down in Ascension Parish today – Prairieville and St. Amant. It is terrible down there. Still flooding in places. People still can’t get in or out of some areas. Some small communities are still basically cut off. And, of course, where everyone can work, their belongings are piled high along the road. And, the smell. Dear Lord…
Just letting you know. Ascension has not gotten much help at all. Have the media just moved on already? This thing is far from over. Everywhere I went, people were telling me to get the word out that help was very much needed.
Rod: I typed “Ascension Parish” into Google News, and all I got were stories from Louisiana media. Today on CNN, Gov. John Bel Edwards said:
“Typically by this point in a storm, I think Red Cross would be receiving a lot more donations, I think there would be more volunteers signing up. Although we have some of that in place now, it would be very helpful if people would donate to the Red Cross, to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and also to come volunteer to help people get back in their homes as quickly as possible.”
Well, I think the Red Cross would be getting more donations if the media were down here showing America how bad it really is.
It’s so bad that Edwards, a Democrat, praised Donald Trump for his visit to Louisiana, saying Trump donated $100,000 to flood relief at a particular church (Trump also brought in a tractor-trailer full of relief supplies). From the Baton Rouge Advocate:
“I think … because it helped shine a spotlight on Louisiana and the dire situation that we have here that it was helpful,” Edwards told CNN’s Dana Bash.
UPDATE: More info from Alan Cross, down in Ascension:
Churches that I met are getting ready for teams to come and I’m not sure they are coming. It is really sad. People just aren’t tracking with this. They asked me to let people know what they are going through so they would help and I promised I would. Man, it is hard to hear that. Everyone is working hard, but they need help.
I just saw also where Louisiana has put out an URGENT call for volunteers of all kinds. The need for help is ridiculous.
I know that we usually try to work through out state convention disaster relief teams. And, they do a GREAT job. But, right now, local churches need to send teams. We all need to go. The media has ignored this story because of Trump and the Olympics and whatever else they find interesting. But, people are suffering. Please spread the word and GO!