By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the flooding in Louisiana. But since Louisiana isn’t as “hip” as New York or California, you probably haven’t seen a lot of coverage in the national media – a story here, a story there – nothing serious; after all, it’s only Louisiana.
But this isn’t what might be called an “ordinary” flood; this flood has been designated as a 1000-year flood. Yes, that’s right; NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has designated the rains that caused this massive flooding as an event estimated to occur once every 1,000 years. Other areas, less hard hit, were designated as 500-year events and 100-year events.
To put this episode in perspective, since the start of 2012, Los Angeles has seen a total of 29.18 inches of rain. In just a few days’ time, Watson, Louisiana (18 miles Northeast of Baton Rouge), picked up 31.39 inches of rain – two inches more than Los Angeles has received in over three years’ time.
Unlike many other national disasters, flooding (rising water) isn’t covered by homeowner’s insurance. Unless the homeowner had special flood insurance, the folks devastated by the flooding will suffer their loss without insurance reimbursement. Thirty parishes (counties) have been designated as disaster areas so FEMA assistance will be available, but that doesn’t rebuild homes or replace contents.
So, the losses sustained by many residents, some of whom have lost their home, furniture and all of its contents will be borne by themselves alone. Authorities estimate that over 40,000 homes and businesses were impacted by the flooding. And that doesn’t mention cars and trucks. While they may be covered by automobile policies, most will be total losses accompanied by lack of transportation until replacements can be acquired. Especially on low income people for whom the loss of a home and all it contained may be catastrophic, the impact can be life-changing.
That is the tragedy. Many of those suffering losses will find it difficult or impossible to recover and rebuild. What will happen to them?
Criticism of the national media is growing for the relative lack of attention it is paying to the catastrophic flooding in south Louisiana. “This is a sprawling human tragedy,” writes Salon political writer Sean Illing. “And it’s happening right now, just beyond the view of a media more interested in Justin Bieber’s Instagram status than in the sufferings of flyover country.”
Though network news and major daily papers have given some coverage to the devastation, the story hasn’t dominated media outlets in the way that Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina did. Nor have cable news anchors flocked to the area as they did last month to cover the protests over Alton Sterling’s death and the ambush killing of three law enforcement officers.
This hits close to home for me as I was born and raised in Baton Rouge and still have family members living there. My son operates a business in Baton Rouge [a shameless plug: I ♥ Absinthe is his website] and when I spoke to him on Monday, his home was OK, but his office and warehouse was at serious risk of rising water. My brother wasn’t as lucky as he had almost a foot of water in his house already.
Fortunately, on Tuesday I learned that my son’s business was spared and water didn’t get into the facility, but his business was interrupted for two days when he couldn’t ship products. Thankfully, all of my family members are OK and only my brother suffered a major loss.
My son did send me a Facebook video that was interesting. It was done by a black rapper, called “Jiggy Down Tomysocks” who called out Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers for their conspicuous absence.
He got it right. Both my brother and my son told me that people were helping each other without regard to race – blacks helping whites, whites helping blacks – maybe it takes a disaster to bring the races together. It damn sure doesn’t take Black Lives Matter or the Black Panthers since all they bring is discord, hate, and violence.
And here is a video showing a woman and her dog being rescued from a submerged car. The point to note here is that the car is “on end” and completely disappears at one point – graphically showing the depth of the water at that location.