I mentioned earlier this morning that I’ve largely been MIA because I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Delta, which hit Louisiana’s coast on Friday night and ravaged a good portion of the state’s southwest and south central communities, including mine.
At its peak, Delta was a Category 3 storm. It made landfall as a Category 2. While that may seem like it’s not very big compared to the Category 4s and 5s that we’ve seen in the past, a Category 2 still means 96-110 mph winds. That is enough to do serious damage to an already storm-ravaged coastline.
The storm made landfall about 12 miles to the east of where Hurricane Laura hit. Because of wind shear, there was very little in terms of rain and flooding inland, but a lot of storm surge and flooding along the coast. It was the wind from the storm that did the most damage, destroying homes, rooftops, and power lines. As many as half a million citizens were without power in Louisiana, and some of them still don’t have it as of this writing.
As a teacher, I have dozens of students still without Internet access and unable to do work they were already struggling to do because they, like so many other students, are having to adapt to the “new normal,” which in districts like mine means a hybrid (read: every other day) schedule. I have been fielding emails for four days from panicked students worried that their grades will suffer (they will not suffer because I refuse to let any more Acts of God – be they plague, pestilence, storm, or riders on pale horses – affect their grades).
As a parent, my wife and I have to go to work while my kids’ school is still without power. We had to scramble to make arrangements, and I know many other parents out there are in the same boat.
As a citizen of south Louisiana, I knew the risks when I moved down here. I knew these storms were something that happened, but I also was in high school when Hurricane Katrina hit and New Orleans was destroyed. I remember seeing that footage for weeks. But, Hurricanes Laura and Delta each got coverage for about a day, and most of that was the lead-in to landfall. After it was over, the news coverage went away. The problems in south Louisiana will remain south Louisiana’s to pay attention to and deal with.
In this modern era, we are so busy focusing on Washington D.C. to micromanage our lives. Even if your existence is one of open rebellion to the idea of Washington D.C. running your life, your absolute devotion to fighting those battles have let you (and me and others) quietly ignorant of the things happening outside the beltway. I get that Lake Charles, Louisiana, is not as sexy a town as New Orleans is (or, at least, it’s not as Sodom and Gomorrah as New Orleans is), but it’s still a city that has been devastated by these big storms.
It strikes me as amazing that this part of the state was hit by two big storms in just a six-week span and yet you hear nothing about it outside of our local media. I know I’m biased, living here and all, but it seems like we as Americans have largely forgotten to give a damn about our fellow countrymen outside of those we agree with politically when it comes to who the president is or what a party is doing in Washington D.C. It’s frankly shameful that we’re not doing more to reach out to our fellow countrymen and offering them anything in support.
But, God forbid the Republicans push through/the Democrats block a new Justice to the Supreme Court.