By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – A week after the cataclysmic event, the national media is slowly beginning to notice that Louisiana is flooding.
Donald Trump came to visit this week which garnered a bit of attention, mostly from pundits who wanted to mock him for bringing PlayDoh to kids who have lost all of their toys, their homes, their stability, their pets, and everything they know.
In Livingston Parish, 87% of the homes there flooded. In Baton Rouge, at least 40,000 homes are believed to have flooded. Most of these people don’t have flood insurance. The numbers are staggering.
Jazz Shaw at Hot Air makes the point that all these visits by politicians to disaster areas are basically pointless:
What are we really accomplishing with presidential visits to natural disaster areas other than setting up politically oriented photo ops or chances for opponents to score a few cheap shots?
I can answer that: the visits raise hope. They encourage people who have nothing left. They show people that someone cares about their plight.
From The Advocate:
[Rep. Steve] Scalise, the House Majority Whip who represents Louisiana’s 1st District, said he thought Trump’s visit was helpful to the state and to flood victims.
“You can see how he really lifted the spirits of a lot of people who need that right now,” Scalise said after Trump left. “One of the most important jobs of a president as it relates to national disasters is to show up and show people you care.”
At this point, most of the people in the south Louisiana flood zone don’t really care if Obama shows up or not. That he didn’t feel compelled to interrupt his golf game on Martha’s Vineyard long enough to visit, to show concern, or that his staff didn’t care enough to even put up a statement on the White House web page for several days, speaks volumes. He isn’t up for re-election and could not care less what happens here.
Hillary Clinton finally got around to making a statement nearly a week after the devastation. She isn’t coming, by the way. She thinks it would be disruptive, and maybe so, but she really doesn’t care about us either.
One group who does care what happens though, is the Cajun Navy. You may have heard about them. The Cajun Navy is a group of volunteers who stepped up to help those in need when others would not. Before the soaking rains moved out of the area, the Cajun Navy was already heading out in canoes, boats, pirogues, you name it, ready to go in and rescue the helpless.
That’s the thing: the flooding was so vast that first responders just could not get to all of the cries for help. For days these citizen soldiers in The Cajun Navy have been pulling people off of roofs, out of houses, saving pets, rescuing horses in pastures inundated with water. These people know the back roads. They know the countryside. They know where to go.
Now they are helping distribute donations and supplies and are helping gut houses ruined by floodwaters.
There are no government dollars helping them, no GoFundMe page, and they accept no donations. They aren’t selling t-shirts. They are just doing what is right.
So, we don’t really need an Obama entourage down here. The golf courses are under water anyway.
We could use Red Cross donations, though. It’s really important that the nation doesn’t forget about south Louisiana now that the waters are receding. The ruin and devastation is still here. Donations and support are needed.
It’s going to be a long haul, but we are #LouisianaStrong and we will recover. We are grateful for Donald Trump’s visit, grateful that even though it might have been a photo-op, he still cared enough to come. He made a sizable donation to flood relief. He made some kids smile.
But most of all, we are proud of our Cajun Navy who no doubt are the heroes of the Flood of 2016.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.