In case you were wondering, it’s kind of mess down here. The events of the last few days have given new meaning to a “a river runs through it”. I have numerous friends with needs, but we are cut off because the Amite River is running wild over all roads between us. To make matters worse, in the valley of mud, there is no cell coverage. The only way they can communicate is via Facebook and only if they have wifi. We all know that wifi generally runs on electricity. Electricity and water don’t mix very well.
I, on the other hand, am on an island. My life is running along normally (sort of). Most of my haunts are open. I met a gaggle of friends yesterday at Magpie for coffee after I landed in Baton Rouge. Ironically, the last time we all gathered there was the day that the police shooting occurred here. Again, we were all a bit shellshocked from the events happening around us, but none of us were directly impacted. Each of us had friends and family who were directly impacted, but we had no way of getting to them.
Today the friends who can text me via wifi have kept me somewhat up to date with their adventure. They are cleaning up. They are picking up building material that has come up from the floor, tearing up sheetrock and throwing out personal items. It is muddy, snaky, stinky and very, very sad. For many, they are cleaning up their childhood homes and are worried about how their elderly parents will handle this. Thankfully, the Universe has provided somewhat cooler weather for us.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, I am packing. I don’t have to pack for long. I got the little house on Mohawk in St. Joseph, and I close the second week of September. I have such awesome friends there that I had several options on temporary housing, and I plan to stay at my friend Kathy’s lakehouse on Dewey Lake in Dowagiac.
My new house!
My preparations have been complicated by the lack of reliable phone service and the inability to get around town outside my little island. But I can’t complain. These are small problems compared to my friends in Denham Springs and Watson. My fur babies have no idea what’s about to happen, but I do believe they know something is about to happen. They are a little more clingy than normal, and Ashok is watching me like a hawk.
I had a major meltdown this morning. I’m emotionally wrecked because of the move and this flooding situation. I’m physically exhausted because I’ve been running on adrenaline and caffeine for three weeks straight. I’m intellectually stretched managing a new job and a move. A meltdown was bound to happen, and it finally did. Thankfully my friend Michael talked me down off the ledge, and I’m back in the swing of things.
For those of you that live away, I want to emphasize the gravity of the situation here. I don’t know about the scope of the disaster, but it looks very much like Katrina in many ways. Whole neighborhoods and towns have been wiped out. There will be much rebuilding that needs to be done. Thankfully, the loss of life is not nearly as high, but recovery will take years. Massive reconstruction will need to occur. Many, many people have lost their jobs. My niece finally made it through the immediate danger, but her school took in 6 feet of water. She is a teacher, and she is unemployed with two small children. She will probably need to relocate with family to get back on her feet. She will not be alone. Most of us don’t have massive savings accounts to get us through this kind of financial disaster.
I urge you to donate your time, energy or resources to help these people affected by this flood. They need immediate assistance with food, water and shelter. My rental will go fast as housing here will be sucked up in a few days for those that have jobs but no home. Some will need to live in shelters until they can find a job and a place to live. You can donate to the Red Cross, or you can donate here locally. Others will need assistance in rebuilding. Yes, there will be government money, but workers will be needed, and supplies will be in high demand.
I knew lots of people affected by Katrina, but I know many more affected by this unnamed disaster. The hardest hit area was my hometown. They were my high school boyfriends, BFFs and basketball teammates. They are my relatives. They are my touchstones. With them I learned how to put on makeup, catch crawfish, flirt with boys and say my ABCs. I feel really weird leaving in the middle of this. I feel a responsibility to stay and help, but I have to go. The timing really sucks.
I have collected some links for donations, and you can click here for that list. Stay tuned. Meanwhile…..