Last month, my Cenla Focus piece was titled “Today I Am Sad”. I shared with you my thoughts and concerns regarding the human race and the path of self destruction we had chosen. Ever the optimist, I ended with a note of hope that tomorrow would bring about a change for the better. Recently, friends, neighbors and loved ones have suffered a terrible tragedy in the Flood of 2016 that occurred in South Louisiana. Thousands are homeless, schools and office buildings have been destroyed, photographs and memories washed away. Yet in the wake of this tragedy, hope has emerged.
Louisiana is known as the Sportsman’s Paradise. Before first responders arrived on the scene, the “Cajun Navy” was already there with their flat bottom fishing boats and four wheelers. The “Navy” was comprised of regular people with regular families and regular jobs that immediately saw a need in their community and moved to action. They aided their neighboring parishes at their own expense, used their own equipment, and in some cases, risked their lives to save countless before anyone really knew how bad it was. Shelters were set up, organized and manned by volunteers from the community. Women in shelters shared formula and diapers with each other before supplies began to arrive. Those that were lucky enough to escape the damaging waters opened their doors and their hearts to total strangers who had lost everything. They offered them refuge; a dry place to sleep and food to eat. Individuals and businesses from all over the state organized food and clothing drives, and drove truck after truck of supplies into the flooded areas.
A disaster always seems to bring out the best in us. We become blind to color, religious and political beliefs, gender and sexual orientation. Our souls are stripped bare for all to see. We embrace those in need with comforting arms. We rock each other’s children to sleep in the shelters. Men and women unashamedly cry for what’s been lost not only for themselves, but for their neighbors. We pray together. Louisiana is a melting pot of cultures. But when the chips are down, the people of Louisiana rise up together. We won’t sit and wait for Government assistance; we will take action and take care of our own. We won’t riot and loot; there will be no angry mobs. We will do what needs to be done for each other and we will be stronger and more compassionate because of it. We offer the world a glimpse of what humankind should be. We offer hope for a better tomorrow. And for that, I am proud!