Report from Louisiana: Inner City Blues

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – There has been a bit of a buzz in my neck of the woods this week about a “scorching” letter written by an Alabama tourist to Mayor Cantrell of New Orleans. This visitor took issue with the homelessness, blight, and open drug use in the city and implored the mayor to “be a leader” and clean up her city.

I can’t speak about NOLA, but I can’t argue with what this guy probably saw because I see the same thing here in Shreveport, and I suspect this is the case in many cities across the nation. In Shreveport, for example, the homeless population downtown can be seen everywhere; on every bench, in doorways of every abandoned building, and posted up in front of the public library. Some ask for money, most stare sullenly into space and avoid eye contact. It is sad to me, and I know that a wide variety of circumstances have brought them here. Some of this may be of their own doing, but not always.

Does this deter tourists? Probably, some.

More puzzling to me is that I don’t see this everywhere. I don’t travel widely, but I do travel. We recently returned from a trip to the Midwest to visit my husband’s family. As is our custom, we spent a day in Des Moines, exploring the vibrant downtown and then attending an iCubs baseball game. Shreveport doesn’t have minor league baseball, so we grab it when we can.

In Des Moines we did not see blight, homelessness, drug use, abandonment; I’m sure some of that is there, we just didn’t see it downtown. We walked blocks, inside the skywalks and outside on the street. Granted, a lot of the shops in the skywalks that we had seen before are gone. A lot of people are still working from home. But the majority of businesses there are booming and there are people living, working, and playing downtown.

It makes coming home to a dirty, crumbling city somewhat depressing.

I am not sure what the answer is. My husband would say it is the Democrats we seem to put into office. “Look at every city that ever had a Democrat mayor!” he screams. “It goes to hell!”

He’s not wrong.

Except the mayor of Des Moines is a Democrat.

Obviously, the blight and decay of our cities is the result of a combination of factors. For example, Louisiana only has two Fortune 500 companies, the highest of which ranks only 143 (CenturyLink). We are not a business friendly state with a rank of 49 on that list. I love my state for its natural beauty, but we have a lot of problems.

At the very least, we have got to get people back to work across this country. Everywhere we went on our travels we saw help wanted signs and places understaffed. Product shortages are evident. From the lowest to the highest, we have got to get this economy going and these jobs filled. The unemployment subsidies need to stop. ANYone who wants a job should be able to find one right now.

And while the tourist who wrote the letter to Mayor Cantrell will likely find his pleas falling of deaf ears in the mayor’s office, I hope he knows that a lot of other people see and agree with his words. We need to elect leaders who will step up and lead, who will do the right thing and not necessarily the popular thing, and who will get this country back on its feet.

It is overdue.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Report from Louisiana: On Blogging and new platforms

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — As usual, I am a little late to the party, but in January I decided to start writing on Medium in addition to keeping my own blog, as well as keeping my Monday slot here.

Medium is basically a blogging platform, but it seems to be a decent place to post from time to time because of the built-in audience.  Launched in August 2012 by Evan Williams, one of the co-founders of Twitter, Medium has a pretty solid, worldwide following. You can read three free articles a month before you hit the paywall. It’s not clear how many subscribers have signed up for the $5 monthly subscription fee but estimates range from 200,000 to 400,000. 

I kind of stumbled on Medium this spring when this article by Tomas Pueyo went viral and was showing up all over my social media. I thought the article was really well done and if that was any indicator of what kind of work was on Medium, I wanted to know more. I’ve been reading there ever since, and at some point I subscribed. 

On Medium you can tailor your home screen to the types of articles you want to see by simply following  specific categories. In the beginning I set mine to coronavirus articles, culture, history, humor, environment…that kind of thing. I have tweaked it a bit since then; you can also follow tags.  I like a mix of things to appear on my home screen. There is a category for writing, but I’m getting too many articles about how to write on Medium that are weighing my feed down. I am going to take that one off. I took the coronavirus category off as well; I’m tired of reading about that.

The site hosts professional and amateur writers and so again, pick and choose. Famous names include Susan Orlean (a favorite of mine – I loved The Library Book), Nikki Haley, Senator Marco Rubio, and many others. Authors are paid by internal views and engagement: how long someone spends on your article, claps (which is similar to the “like” button), and shares. A writer on Medium earns zero revenue from readers outside the Medium subscription base; external views do not earn money, but in theory they can lead to more Medium subscribers.  It is all about exposure and building a following. 

I have concerns about spreading myself too thin but I am curious to see if I can spark up a following on Medium which would then develop into a little extra cash in my pocket, which is always a good thing. Now that I am finally retired, I know that I will have more free time for writing, and so for the moment, I think I can handle three blogging platforms. My posts at each will be quite different because the audience for each is different.

To earn money on the platform, you have to sign up for a Strip account; it is very simple and safe. Once a month your earnings are transferred into your account.

So, how much have I earned in my six months there? About enough to buy a hamburger and beer for lunch. Not a lot. You’re probably not going to make enough to quit your day job. But my revenue is growing each month, so at least it’s going in the right direction, and I’m gaining followers. Articles on Medium have “a long tail”; that is, they earn money weeks after they’ve been published because the Medium algorithm filters them back around to land on someone’s homepage depending on their interests. For example, logging on to Medium right now, I have a selection of articles from today on back about four weeks.

I’m curious if any of you are Medium readers? If not, check the site out and let me know honestly what you think about it. Like I said, you get three free articles per month. 

Report from Louisiana: The Vaccine Lottery

Photo by Emin BAYCAN on Unsplash

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Registration opens today for Louisiana’s “Shot at a Million” lottery campaign. To enter you must be a Louisiana resident and have had at least one Covid vaccine. Prizes include scholarships for those under 18, and cash for everyone else.

The campaign is the latest effort by Governor John Bel Edwards to get Louisiana citizens vaccinated against the Coronavirus.

“We need more people to go sleeves up before we can truly end the pandemic,” Edwards said at the press conference. “’Shot At A Million’ is a reward for those who’ve already gotten vaccinated and a fun nudge for others to get the vaccine sooner rather than later.”

The prizes are funded by federal COVID dollars.

This idea of rewarding people for getting the vaccine isn’t new; for months now states have been offering incentives to get the shot which have included free crawfish, burritos, tequila shots, amusement park tickets, and hot dogs.

The concept of rewarding people for doing “the right thing” trickles on down to the school level; positive behavior incentives in schools come in the form of “bucks” or tickets handed to kids who follow dress code, open doors for others, do their homework, that sort of thing. The theory is that everyone will show good behavior in order to get the incentives and be allowed to use those “bucks” in a school store for chips, candy, or homework passes.

Currently, Louisiana is near the bottom of the vaccinated population list with only 33% of our people having taken the shot. Highest ranked? Vermont, with 64%. So in theory, someone in Louisiana stands a 1 in 1,675,152 “shot” at winning a prize in the Louisiana vaccine lottery.

We will literally gamble on anything in Louisiana.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport, at Medium, and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Report from Louisiana: The Circus has Left Town and taken the Legislature with it.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Louisiana’s legislative session has ended and as The Advocate puts it, “the circus has left Baton Rouge.” There is never a dull moment in Louisiana politics. Here’s a quick look.

While legislators did not legalize recreational marijuana, they did legalize sports betting. The medical marijuana program was expanded, and jail time for small amounts of marijuana has been eliminated. Mandatory kindergarten passed muster, but tougher teacher retirement rules did not. Governor John Bel Edwards agreed to terminate federally enhanced unemployment benefits in exchange for raising the weekly unemployment benefit by $28.  An attempt to enact closed party primaries failed.

In other pressing issues, women will no longer pay state sales tax on feminine hygiene products or diapers.

At the last minute, legislators passed “a bill that would prohibit government agencies from refusing to issue licenses, permits, and degrees or barring access to public facilities to someone who hasn’t received a covid-19 vaccine until any of the vaccines have been officially approved by the FDA.” Meanwhile, Louisiana State University plans to have a mask mandate this fall when students return to college classes.

The session was not without tension and drama. Louisiana House member Alan Seabaugh came in conflict with Representative Malinda White over terminology in a domestic violence bill. White became contentious over Seabaugh’s proposed changes and reportedly said either “let me get my gun and finish this or I’m going to get my gun and we can finish this.” Seabaugh took that as a threat and has requested the Louisiana State Police follow up on the matter.

I am frankly shocked that Edwards is agreeing to end the subsidized unemployment benefit, however there is no question that he needs to. Businesses all over town are advertising for help, begging for help, and some are having trouble staying open because they can’t get anyone to work.  

It remains to be seen which bills will get the governor’s signature and which will meet the veto. Legislators passed one bill that is certain to receive an Edwards veto: residents would no longer have to have a permit or training to conceal carry.

That’s going to be a big no from Edwards.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Report from Louisiana: Your Best Self

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT –I have just returned to Shreveport after eight days in south Louisiana; for eight days I did not turn on a television. I looked at Facebook nonsense only once a day, and I read zero newspapers. For eight days I have been blissfully unaware of the wider world around me and only concerned about what I was going to eat that day or what rural road I might explore. Is the snow cone stand open today?  Is that a snake in the bayou over there? 

We go to south Louisiana about five times a year and spend a week completely unplugged from the news. It is wonderful! We do talk to people, though, and I can assure you that this part of the state is still staunchly Trump and hoping for a Trump comeback in 2024. It is the NOLA area that is more Democrat, of course, around New Orleans, but most of Louisiana remains politically conservative.

The area we visit is heavily Catholic; my husband and I attend an Episcopal church, which he calls Catholic-Lite.  Without getting into the theological differences, let’s just say that we can attend a Catholic Mass and not look too much out of place. We attended Saturday afternoon Mass and we did okay.

The priest delivered a sermon that resonated with me; the night before, Friday, the diocese that includes Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and Arnaudville, Louisiana (where we were), began a summer series of discussions called Theology on the Bayou. The event was open to the public and held at Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville, in their event space.

Theology in a brewery?  Well, why not? 

The event was a huge success; we got there about fifteen minutes before it started which enabled us to get a beer and find a seat. We spoke to Father Travis, “our” priest, and he introduced us to Father McIntyre from Breaux Bridge who was leading the evening’s program. As we waited for the event to begin, we watched the amazement unfold on their faces as people began pouring into the room; they just kept coming. More chairs had to be set up, then more chairs, then people squished up closer together and more chairs came out. The room was busting at the seams.  It was pretty amazing.

The theme of the night’s discussion was “What makes us human?” and basically, becoming a better human. One of the questions Father McIntyre asked was “What person in your life makes you your best self; that allows you to be, and to become, who you really are?” The part of the night that resonated so much with me was the discussion part when people shared ideas and just talked. I loved the community of it, the mutual desire to be better people, better Christians, and stronger in family and faith.

That’s a message I can get behind no matter what religion it comes from. As we all sat in that room, most with a beer, several with pizza (they served terrific wood-fired pizza there), and the doors open to allow the cross breeze in, I looked at the assembled faces; all ages were present. Husbands, wives, kids, grandparents, everyone. It was pretty special.

At Mass the next day, Father Travis had a similar message for his congregation: that we should be more open, more welcoming, basically, our best selves.

Now that I’m back in Shreveport, where we have daily shootings, the highest homicide rate since the 1980s, and an overload of negativity, decay, and decline, I’m thinking that unplugging for a while might be necessary to my mental well-being! Real life (as opposed to vacation life) brings enough responsibility and obligation as it is without the negativity that social media and even main stream media brings.

If I’m going to be my best self, my happiest self, it is definitely something to consider.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

RT —

Report from Louisiana: My last four days of working for a living!

If you Google “What to do when I retire,” you’ll get lots of lists that include things like teach, garden, visit family, spend time with friends, mentor, buy a motorhome, and join a fitness group.

Excuse me, but I’m retiring, not moving into an assisted living facility.

My list looks a little different.

When my retirement from the classroom begins next week, literally the first thing I’m going to do is drive three hours to south Louisiana and sit in an historically restored Cajun cottage along Bayou Teche. My husband and I go there five times a year and it is our home away from home. I’m going to walk across the street to the grocery store, buy some fancy cheeses, some fresh veggies, and I’m going to spend seven days decompressing and uncoiling from twenty-five years of teaching tenth grade English.

More immediate things on my list include cleaning out closets, drawers, cabinets, and eliminating a whole lot of clutter. Get rid of those work clothes! Why do I have six Pyrex casserole dishes? Do I really need this antique waffle iron with the fraying cord? Those size three jeans in my closet? Yeah, they haven’t fit in fifteen years so it is time for them to go.

I am going to listen to podcasts. Got any suggestions? I listened to S-Town and loved that. So well done. I don’t really listen to podcasts, but I think I might try that while I start a walking regimen. My son listens to some podcast that sound far too much like Beavis and Butthead; I don’t want that. Something good. Help a girl out.

I am going to read that huge stack of books taking over my house; then, I’m going to put them in the Little Free Library on the corner.

Day drink. Why not have a cold beer at noon while I pull some weeds out of the flower bed? Why the hell not?

Stay up as late as I want to.

Finish my second book. I’m close. I need to get it off to my publisher so I can start on my third book.

Narrow down topic for third book.

Learn how to cook alligator. Not everyone can do this well.

Go to Monroeville, Alabama, home of my idol Harper Lee. See the inside of that courthouse.

Re-tile my bathroom. I have no idea how to do this and I think I need tools which I don’t currently own. Saws and things. I can do this. Right?

Spend days and days in the archives at the library doing research. I love this. This was the best part of writing my first book — the research! Love it!

Write. Write. Write.

Drive as much of the original alignment of Route 66 from east to west as possible.

Attend as many minor league baseball games in as many ballparks as I possibly can.

Find some way to move permanently to south Louisiana, to Cajun country, which has my heart and soul.

Brush up my French.

While this little list isn’t exhaustive, I think it is a lot more interesting than some of the suggestions for retirees that I’ve seen. Retirement has proven “boring” for my husband; when he retired six years ago he went back to school and got his BA and then his Masters degree, which was fabulous! But now he’s bored.

I can’t see myself ever getting bored. Maybe this is because I’m technically still working and the reality of retirement has not yet hit me. Maybe after a period of time, I will be restless and aimless.

I doubt it.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.ing

Report from Louisiana: Bye Bye Mask!

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – We went to church Sunday; it is the first Sunday since March 2020 that the congregation could attend unmasked and with social distancing thrown to the wind. It is amazing how refreshing that was.

It seems as if this long pandemic nightmare is finally ending, and people are resuming their lives. Whether you are in the “Covid is a hoax” camp or the “Covid is going to kill us all” camp, the restrictions imposed on us all have affected us all in some way or another.

With excessive government handouts, many people have found it more profitable (and more fun) to stay at home, drawing that unemployment and other benefits. A lot of restaurants and other businesses are having trouble filling jobs. There have been product shortages all across the country as production has slowed. Even if the only way you’ve been affected is that you were required to wear a mask somewhere, we have all been affected by these mandates.

But now, this is changing! Even some school districts across the country have lifted mask mandates.

What is so interesting to me, however, is to note the effect these restored liberties have on people; the atmosphere at church was pure giddiness.  I heard more than one person say, “Oh it’s so nice to see people’s faces again!”  One woman noted that she actually wore makeup today for the first time since this started. Smiles were everywhere. People lingered longer after the service to visit with each other.

It’s obvious, isn’t it? I mean, who wouldn’t be happier without the yoke of government restrictions on them?

And now, you can actually see when someone smiles! Facial expressions are back!

There were more people in attendance at church this week, too. I have noticed since Easter that people are coming back. It has been good to see. Our priest is retiring next month, and we are able to have a retirement gathering for him in a local restaurant! Six months ago, that would not have been allowed. Too large of a group.

I wore my mask where I was supposed to, but honestly, once I had Covid antibodies after I got through the virus, and later, once I was vaccinated, I didn’t see much point in the mask. I got a lot less compliant about wearing it.

I think there are some things we may not see for a while, if ever, though. Salad bars, for one. I’m not a fan of a buffet, but we probably won’t see much of that either. I expect travel and large-crowd events will require proof of vaccination. I’m not sure how all that will work.

For now, I’m just glad I can see the smile on someone’s face.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Report from Louisiana: Year Round School?

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Year-round school.  A lot of districts do it, but I am not a fan.

Louisiana’s (new) Superintendent of Education is proposing year-round school in our state. I know that there are a couple of schools in our local district that are already doing this, elementary schools mostly, but as a teacher, I must tell you, I don’t think I’d like this.

Here’s the thing. I need that summer to recharge. While most people are under the impression that teachers get “three months off” or “all summer off,” of course that is not the case. I am about to retire after twenty-five years in the classroom, and I can assure you that I’ve never ever had three months off, and I’ve never had a summer where I wasn’t required to do some sort of professional development.

Every five years or so we have some sort of curriculum change that requires professional development…training…inservice; new technology, new gradebook software, new this, new that…all of it requires PD. Time taken out of your “summer.” 

As rewarding as it is, teaching is exhausting work. And really, this isn’t the post where I want to defend the position that teachers are underpaid for what they do, and that yes, we knew what we got paid when we went into the profession. That is for another day.

But year-round school? Nope. Glad I won’t be there for that.

Kids need the break too, you see. Yes, indeed, some of them need school all the time; their life at home might be terrible and maybe they aren’t getting meals and maybe they don’t get enough supervision and sometimes the electricity and water aren’t even turned on.

Schools have become the place to catch all of these issues that are neglected at home. We feed our students breakfast and lunch, teach them sex education, breast cancer awareness and self-examination; we do vision and hearing checks, we help seniors sign up for Financial Aid. We provide jackets and clothing for kids in need and sometimes we pay an electric bill. Schools are now social support service providers and while I love kids and will help any child in need every single time, we have to wonder if this is the job of the school.

Are we losing sight of education?

Most opponents of year-round school suggest that kids need time to be with their families, to go on vacation, Disneyland! Most of the kids I teach can’t even dream of going to Disneyland and have never been on a family vacation; some are homeless and live in hotels. Most of my high school aged students work and they work hard, long hours.

When we shut down for Covid, our kids were working. They didn’t log onto Google classroom every day to do math problems and watch YouTube documentaries; they took advantage of the time to work, make money, pay bills.

Not all of them, obviously, but a lot of them. I know this for a fact.

And so as I consider the proposal of year round school, I am conflicted. I think about these kids; they need some down time, too. They are working, they are trying to survive, they are trying to finish school. Where’s the downtime? Teachers need to recharge, too, and a lot of teachers depend on summer jobs to supplement their salaries.

Schools can provide everything else. Can’t we provide a few weeks with no school?

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Report from Louisiana: Office Space

By: Pat Austin

I have been thinking a lot lately about workspaces. As I transition into retirement, leaving my classroom of twenty-five years, I have been moving some things home and setting up a new workspace in my house.

When I wrote my first book, I did it on my laptop sitting at an antique oak desk in front of a big picture window in my living room where I can look out at the neighborhood, watch the rain, and cars speeding down my residential street.  The desk belonged to my grandfather in a railroad office and the top is scarred and marked with various scratches, dents, and ink spills. I have never had the least interest in refinishing it; I love its character.

Working on my second book now, I feel like I want to do this one in a different space. I know, that makes no sense whatsoever, but the opportunity has just sort of developed organically. I’ve inherited a powerful desktop computer from my gamer-son, so I bought a nice, new monitor and have set up a new space.  This time my “desk” is a marble topped wrought iron table that used to be my breakfast table. My chair is an old classroom teacher chair that I brought home and covered in pages from To Kill a Mockingbird, slathered with ModPodge, and finished with several coats of polyurethane. The result is pretty cool.

Speaking of cool office spaces, there is a guy I follow on Instagram only for his beautiful shots of his writing space. I don’t know him, never met him, but I feel like we would be friends based on his workspace.  The sepia tints, the browns and earth tones create a casual, moody vibe. Most of his photographs have a cup of coffee in them; that’s his schtick, I guess. The pictures are cropped in a minimalist fashion, drawing your focus to one specific item in the picture. The focus might be his turntable with an album cover of a cool jazz recording sitting on top or a neat stack of music biographies. It just looks cool, and I enjoy checking out his feed each day.

I like my space where I write to be clear of clutter, except of course for my research. While writing Cane River Bohemia, I had stacks of books piled on the floor, piles of primary source material, letters, photocopies, my index card file, and a stack of USB drives, but it was all put away and organized at the end of the day.  But with my desk in the front, main room of the house, it was extremely difficult to concentrate. My family, as much as I love them, always walked by with a question about dinner, someone expressing their own boredom, my husband’s frequent “aww look at the cat!” statements, and the incessant television carrying on. I feel the need for a quieter space this time. In fact, I wrote all of Cane River Bohemia with headphones and my Writing playlist now that I think about it.

My new workspace isn’t perfect, and it isn’t complete. All I really want is a quiet space that is mine, and that is relatively free from clutter.  Will it help my writing? Probably not, but I’m having fun creating it, and isn’t that the point? It’s the journey, not the destination.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport, at Medium, and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Report from Louisiana: Loose Thoughts

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT:  Random thoughts and observations today.

Help Wanted.  Have you noticed that nobody wants to work anymore? I mean, with this extended unemployment and the stimulus rollouts, the restaurants and shops around here are all begging for help. Almost everywhere you go there are help wanted signs. We went to a Mexican restaurant after church today and the first thing the hostess told us was “we are short of servers today – nobody wants to work…”.  It’s crazy.  I went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond later: also help wanted signs. They’re everywhere.  If you want a part-time job, this might be a really good time to find one. I’m thinking about it! I’m retiring from teaching in less than a month; a little side-hustle might not be a bad thing.

What? Retiring?!  Yes, after twenty-five years, I am done. As of May 28, I’ll be officially retired. Mentally, I’m already there. We took our end of course tests last week – six weeks early because the State was concerned about quarantines. So mentally, the students are done, too; they think, why bother? We took the test already.

To be honest, I’d love to have gone five more years and retire at 30 years; it is about a $300 a month pay cut for me to go now (thus, the side-hustle), but I can mentally no longer battle kids with cellphones, TikTok, terrible curriculum, and apathy. I. Just. Can’t. 

My husband has been retired from the police department for several years and he is bored senseless. I don’t think I’ll have that problem: I’m looking forward to time for writing, doing another book, a million and five home projects, working in the yard, and traveling. But, maybe I’ll tire of all that, too. He doesn’t really have many hobbies and I think it is important to keep busy. We will see. 

But, yeah: twenty-four more days of school. Do it.

Seacor Power Tragedy: President Donald Trump has donated 10K to the United Cajun Navy to help search and rescue efforts in the Seacor Power tragedy.

United Cajun Navy founder Todd Terrell confirmed Friday that the former president made a hefty donation toward the rescue efforts of the seven men who are still missing from the Seacor Power crew.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended their search for the missing crew members on Monday at sunset. At that time, officials said they do not expect to find more survivors from the vessel.

Officials spent several days searching for the missing workers from the oil industry lift boat Seacor Power, which capsized on April 13 during a fierce storm in the Gulf of Mexico south of Port Fourchon. Six of the 19 workers on the boat were rescued within hours of the wreck; five more bodies were found in the water.

This has been a terrible tragedy and so devastating to watch and hear from these families. Heartbreaking.

Kudos to President Trump.  Thank you.

Y’all have a good week!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport, at Medium, and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.