There's a lot of things that people, who don't live in the South, think, and say, repeatedly about the South - and maybe some of them are right, and maybe some of them are wrong... And everybody's heard about the looting and violence after Katrina in New Orleans - but unless you've experienced a flood in Louisiana, first hand, for yourself - here's something I bet you don't know:
As devastating of a natural disaster that a flood can be, what happens during and after a flood here, will renew your faith in humanity.
On Friday, we heard that the waters were rising - we knew our Base Flood Elevation was 19 feet at the bottom of our house. There were reports that this was going to be a flood of historical proportions - and it was. The first sign that we might have been in trouble was when two different sets of reporters showed up Friday afternoon to interview us. I guess we picked the lucky number, and it was our home, specifically, that everyone thought was in trouble. We live in an iconic house with 100 years of history surrounding it, backed up to the Bogue Falaya River - everyone in town knows this house - and everyone wondered was was going to happen to it.
We watched the waters rise, as we hurried to move everything out of our basement, relocate our 5 chickens to the upper deck in a make-shift coop, move our cars and batten down the hatches. After that, Mother Nature was gonna do what Mother Nature was gonna do. Not a thing more we could've done.
So like everyone else in town - we waited, we talked to neighbors - we shared some wine - and we lent a hand wherever we could. We were all in this together. The water crested just inches below coming in our raised house - but not without first taking our water heater, generator, 2 a/c units, central heat, and some building materials for our remodel-in-progress with it. But we were safe, and that's what was really important.
I know that seems like quite a blow - but what we witnessed that evening and the following two days was 100% worth the price of admission - at least for me. The outpouring of love, friendship, self-less-ness, and concern from neighbors - strangers in many cases ... was positively overwhelming. Instead of roving bands of looters - we had, quite literally, roving bands of neighbors - anybody who wasn't in danger of flooding themselves - and some who, actually were in danger, were going door to door - finding anybody who needed help. There were young people driving their cars and trucks to get sandbags and passing them out to others. I saw people bringing food to other people - wading through waist high waters in some cases, to check on neighbors. Even the reporter who interviewed me on the news sent me a text today to see if we were ok. It might also surprise you to know that, not that it mattered - but the helpers, and the neighbors being helped were every color of the rainbow - imagine that - people of all races working together, hugging each other - loving one another. Right Here in the South.
This is something that to me, makes all of the humidity, the mosquitoes, and the erroneous assumptions that many people harbor in general about the South all worth it to me. There's no price one can put on this. The occasional flood - the price you pay to live in Paradise.
God Bless Louisiana - for though the land and waters may be sometimes unforgiving, we have been blessed with the milk of human kindness, and kindredness of spirit that we might be carried through those waters, when need be, on the shoulders of our friends and neighbors, who are quick to offer a hand, a story and a beverage -
Now, ain't that the truth.