Through High Waters

My Experience
As soon as the rains stopped on Sunday, I found that for about a square mile around my home in Denham Springs we were on an island amid the flood. I’ve lived through a few hurricane-floods and knew people would need rescue. So, I went out on the water Sunday through Tuesday, seeing whom I could find and assist to evacuate their home. At times I used kayaks, at other times boats, depending on where I was going and how high the water level rose or fell. I went through the waters just south of Bass Pro Shop off Hwy. 16 to check on my in-laws, who at the time we had not heard from for three days. I was also able to help lots of other people in need: men, women, old people, and children were stranded, wet, hungry, and had lost everything. It was so sad! I helped an old couple out of their attic where they were hiding from the flood. Another man was on his roof and apparently had lost his mind, because he was yelling obscenities at everyone who passed by on boats. I came across three stranded people who were near their barn sitting on their horses with another five horses standing around, in about 6 feet of water. They wanted to ride them to safety but didn’t know the way, so I tied the boat to the train and we rode horses through the flood to dry ground. I saw a stranded baby duck, the parish president in a Johnboat, and farmers herding cattle through the water via jet skis (pictured). 13920598_1210243778997322_1587507464538888178_nMany whom we found we brought to the dry ground near our homes, and those refugees found shelter in a local middle school cafeteria and gymnasium. These people who lost everything, especially the young children separated from their parents, would walk around on the road with nothing to wear, nothing to eat, nowhere to go, and no one to hold their hand. The looks on their faces – even on the animals’ faces – was confusion and desperation. The National Guard and policemen began blocking civilians from accessing the water on Tuesday, on Brown Road in Denham Springs. I stopped going out after that, because I could no longer access the water. Since then, I’ve been demo’ing people’s homes with family, friends, and coworkers.

On Legislation
I believe that the Louisiana Senator should focus on inhibiting the law from stopping civilians instead of requiring certification of civilians to have a pass before the law. In other words, the law should target cops who stop civilians, not civilians stopped by cops. Is it a risk to allow civilians out during a flood? Might not they do something dangerous and end up needing rescue? Yes, but the greater risk is not having people saving others who already need rescuing. It is not whether people will need rescuing, but which people will be rescued. It might be the cases that civilians wreck their boats and need rescuing themselves, but it is certain that flood-stranded civilians already need rescuing. And the government usually shows up to rescue people about two to three days into the flooding, whereas the civilians are there from day one. Further, there is no proof that a certification program would improve Southern Louisianan’s boating skills – we are born on the bayou and grow up in the swamps. I have been fishing since I was two or three. No one owns a flat bottom aluminum boat with a pro-drive on accident. It is more likely that government “officials” will need rescuing from The Cajun Navy. It’d be best if they stayed home and let us handle our own. The support, love, and resources from local, free people are overwhelming.

Ode To Louisiana (This became a popular post on social media.)
Louisiana is most beautiful when it is a great disaster. The entire society spontaneously comes together as if joined by familial ties. No one watches his neighbor suffer but all selflessly and voluntarily go about seeking whom they can help. And they do so with their own personal means – trucks, boats, rafts, chainsaws, shovels, food, and often at risk of their lives. We work hard and we eat grand, we are filthy but laughing, we lose our homes yet are welcomed into others. I have seen finer lands but not people. Keep the world and give me Louisiana, even in disaster.

 

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