The Flood Damage
The Louisiana flood, which received little national coverage despite leaving roughly 110,00 homes damaged, started August 8, although most of the flooding started August 12. It swept through southern Louisiana in a matter of days, leaving a total of 6,900,000,000,000 gallons of rainfall in its wake—enough to fill 10.4 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. Livingston parish, the hardest hit parish of the 20 parishes affected, received more than 2 1/2 feet of rain the Tuesday after the flood started, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Watson was the hardest hit part of the parish, in which 31.39 fell within 15 hours. During that same 15-hour span, Baton Rouge received 19 inches of water. Members of the Coast Guard, National Guard, and emergency responders helped evacuate people from their homes. An estimated 30,000 people. Governor John Bel Edwards also stated about 1,000 pets were rescued, too. All in all, there is an estimated $20 billion dollars of damage done.

Two East Baton Rouge residents sit down and talk with the Herald staff about the aftermath of the flood.
Two East Baton Rouge residents sit down and talk with the Herald staff about the aftermath of the flood.

Allison Hudson
Xavier University of Louisiana alumni and current Public Information Officer in Gonzalez, Lou., Allison Hudson was still fielding questions Sept. 5 about the flood from people who had supplies for the people that had been displaced in Gonzalez. It hadn’t flooded in Gonzalez since 1993. Although the rain started on Friday, Hudson said the water came in more quickly on Saturday. On August 13, the city of Gonzalez made 1192 rescues. The next day, Sunday, the 911 Center went down, and deputies took inmates to the tower to sandbag it for 13 hours. Two hundred roads were closed. Boat control became instrumental in getting the police department around. They started making sure there were no deceased bodies left in the house.

These photos are the only things left standing in the midst of the destruction in a Gonzalez home.
These photos are the only things left standing in the midst of the destruction in a Gonzalez home.

By Wednesday, the water was a a stand still. The city began spraying three times a day for mosquito control. “We were just making sure our community that we see on a daily basis was okay,” Hudson said. However, this was not Hudson’s first rodeo with a natural disaster. She was enrolled in Xavier when Hurricane Katrina hit. “You thought you were attached, but really I just miss my shoes,” Hudson said. “I really just miss my shoes.” During this time, Hudson was only getting two to three hours of sleep. She slept on a cot in the office. In fact, she didn’t even get to see her home—which she was in the process of building—until the Sunday after the flood started. “I didn’t go back for a week and a half,” Hudson said. “I didn’t want to.” People need housing. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “sucks,” according to Hudson—they have updated the trailers to make them bigger, but the criteria for receiving the trailer doesn’t match what the residents have. Hudson said that while the donated supplies is good, one day it’s going to run out. “Go through it the best way you know how,” Hudson said.

East Baton Rouge Residents Want Help

Red Cross volunteers and Arkansas natives Joanne Thomas and husband flew down to Baton Rouge to pass out hot meals to families cleaning and gutting their homes.
Red Cross volunteers and Arkansas natives Joanne Thomas and husband flew down to Baton
Rouge to pass out hot meals to families cleaning and gutting their homes.

In front of each house on Winbourne Avenue in Baton Rouge is a pile of ruined belongings from inside the homes. Items range from babies’ toys to refrigerators with rotting food in them to football helmets on top of shelves. Residents had lost everything. “I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I’ve been here since 2000,” Pat Anders, an East Baton Rouge resident, said. Anderson complained about the lack of helping Baton Rouge residents were receiving from the government. The residents need help gutting out their houses and cleaning them out. They need a place to stay. “FEMA is giving us the blues right about now,” said another EBR resident, Leon Clipps. “There’s so much process you have to go through.” Clipps, however, was appreciative of the help FEMA did give. Still, there was a need for more. Residents in the 20 parishes are in need of donations still. Families have lost everything from the large to the small, from sofas to underwear.

To see more information,
go to YouTube.com and search
“Data News Weekly Louisiana Flood Aftermath”

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