In 2005 South Louisiana faced Hurricane Katrina. For Baton Rouge and surrounding areas, reports are the damage here is significantly worse than that. In 2005 our church helped out by serving the work crews who were using LSU as a relief center—serving the servants, if you will.
Now, the people who we’d usually be sending out to help are themselves trying to get their homes back together.
I wanted to take a few moments (not many—families to help) and try and share what’s going on from the lens of a pastor in Baton Rouge.
These are snippets of text messages and emails I’ve received.
–They have been waiting for an adjuster to come They’ve given up and just started doing the demo. Everyone is confused about what to do and now it’s just the two of them.
–It’s an 84 year old lady who got 4′. I’m there right now with her daughter and son in law doing some heavy lifting but I have other stops to make. Any help would be great, they don’t have to finish the whole unloading/gutting job. . . . No flood insurance.
–Son . . . lost everything in the flood and could used some demo help if possible.
–I’m at my neighbor’s house . . . and we are in dire need of assistance they are flooded and we need help.
–We need clothes for her daughter Lucy size 2T/3T and size 5 diapers . Her husband may need essential clothes and shoes. Their home was not considered a flood zone so they have no flood insurance.
–I have 2ft of water in my house. Will need help with clean up. Will need cleaning supplies. Will take any replacement items such as furniture or clothing for my husband and I.
–Clean up and gut house from flood ASAP.
–We need to demo the entire downstairs of our home. My husband is there now trying to rip stuff out. I am 6 1/2 months pregnant so I am trying to stay away until it is safe.
–Parents have total loss for their home.
These are just a small amount of needs that have come at me and others from different sources. From our church alone, there are over twenty-five people who have flooded. When you include all of the people who people at our church know, that list gets almost unthinkable. People’s parents, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and many others are affected. We are still in demolition/air out mode on a lot of houses but needs keep coming in.
As a church, we are housing Red Cross workers who are working throughout Baton Rouge. Yesterday morning we sent out over 100 folks from our different ministries to thirteen different sites for demo. This morning we had a smaller crew and went out to about ten sites for more demo. As the water recedes many people have to get back to work it gets harder to send folks out. So as the demand for help rises, the supply of help decreases. At the same time, new needs arise and people who were helping in one place are now getting pulled in another. Keeping up is difficult.
It’s hard to say to people, “We don’t have people right now, but we sure are trying.”
Yesterday I heard on Red Cross worker say, “I’m headed to this part of town.” The other worker replied with, “We aren’t in that part of town anymore.” Things change moment to moment.
For those wanting info:
- Our website will still be the best portal for communicating needs. If you are out of town, we will gladly take your money (no joke). There are immediate needs and long term needs. Though we can’t help thousands and thousands, we are small and we try to be agile.
- We are sending out teams as soon as we get them, with 9am meetings each mornings and 5:30pm meetings to send out who is able.
- Many are just heading out and helping wherever they can. Keep doing it if you can.
I told our team leaders who are out and about that, though they feel the stress and the need to be everywhere, they are making significant differences in people’s lives. They are serving. They are giving of themselves. It is good to do that.
To all of you, keep praying for us. Louisiana is a great place and has some of the best people.