I watched Rio 2016, but I could not truly enjoy it. The presidential election was of no concern. I’m very angry that most national media outlets were silent initially during the crisis in my community. Where are the sentiments about my community? Why are our presidential candidates silent? I’ve stood with Orlando and prayed for Sandy Hook, and cried about 9/11, but what about South Louisiana?
It took days before the media noted our plight. Why wasn’t a more than 10 county area in distress, deemed an “ALSO-RAN”.
“Also-rans” are the “others”. They are thepeople, places and things deemed less vital. When I did finally see one report about us, it was during “The Rachel Maddow Show”.
Then I remembered, my home is not in the French Quarter! My family doesn’t live in New York City or New Jersey. It seems that because my city was less populous, the rest of the world did not NEED to know. We are more than bars, plantation homes, and and good food. How many people have prostituted Louisiana’s Southern hospitality only to leave them high and dry when it really matters. I feel that there was severe media bias.
I felt so strongly about it that I wrote Sirius-XM Radio host, Pete Dominick. Yesterday morning, as a show of solidarity, he opened his show with my email. He could not comprehend why contributions to our chapter of the American Red Cross were so low.
This past weekend, several Louisiana residents were urged to stay home due to severe weather. Weather experts alerted citizens to only travel if required. Forcasters never anticipated the nightmare that came next. The Florida parishes and parts of Acadiana faced more than 20 inches of continually rain. This wasn’t a hurricane. It was a rainstorm, a weather system that sat over Louisiana for three days.
When the rain ended, several Louisiana communities were in danger, and the danger was unexpected. The Baton Rouge, Livingston, Baker, Zachary, and Denham Springs areas have always relied on a delicate levee system to hold back water when it rains. Like the New Orleans area, we have had a false sense of security. The New Orleans area that sits below sea level, and the Baton Rouge and surrounding area has always looked down on them quite a bit. Residents in South Louisiana have never questioned the bowl-like shape of their own communities. In South Louisiana, there are several creeks, bayous, and lakes that keep areas inhabitable. These smaller bodies of water act as a catch-all for excess water. The smaller bodies of water drain in to the larger river basins. The Amite River runs along the neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, Gonzales and Denham Springs. Simply put, if the Amite River drainage passages back up, the cities along the river will flood. The Comite River has a similar passage so that excess water can pass thru communities. An intricate system of diversion canals (tributaries) pay tribute to the larger river system and eventually flows out into the Mississippi River.
If the tributaries FILL up too fast, the water floods any place along the river because the water has no place to go.
South Lousiana lawmakers have largely ignored the importance of wetlands. Wetlands are our greatest protection against natural disaster. It wasn’t the rain that displaced the residents of South Louisiana this past weekend, it was the clogging of the levees, lakes, and basins that direct water to the river. The City of New Orleans had drainage systems and pumping stations, even then their systems could not keep 80% of the city from flooding.
Today the New Orleans area is dry. The Baton Rouge area is now reeling from Katrina-like effects.
I urge readers to support relief efforts by the American Red Cross, Capital Area United Way, APELEDUCATORS.org, and the Salvation Army. Go to CBS affiliate WAFB-Channel 9, and ABC affiliate WBRZ-Channel 2.
I am sure that nobody doubts that global warming is a problem that caused the tragedy that exists in South Louisana.