It’s been two years since the devastating storm and flood hit us here in northern Louisiana. I lost my car in the flood waters. Scariest thing I’ve been through. As I sat in my car, felt it rocking to the side, all I could think about was my son sitting in the passenger seat. I needed to get him to safety.
Luckily, the car windows still worked, and we were able to crawl out his window. The convenience store at the intersection let my soaking wet teenager stand inside and wait while I crawled back into the car, said some prayers, and waited for help.
Long story short, we made it, and I will forever be thankful to my husband and the stranger who helped him push my car out of the street and to safety. My car still sits up on jacks as I write this, but that’s another story for another day.
Thousands of people lost everything that day and night. Losing a car was nothing compared to almost everyone else affected. I still had a roof over my head, and a pantry full of food (which came in handy).
What hit me hardest, was the community around me. Churches and schools closed down to become shelters for those who needed it, and people flooded to them, volunteering. In town we have these little huts where you can drop off anything you don’t want. People went through their closets, filled huge garbage bags, and dropped them off at the huts, the churches, the schools, anywhere they could be found and used.
The department store I worked at did not close down for a single day. The first two days, we didn’t have any customers. Most streets were still impassable. As soon as people could though, they came in. They maxed out their credit cards, buying their friends and family members clothes, towels, whatever they needed.
Stories were shared, hugs were given freely, and prayers were said out in public. There was no black or white. There was humanity pulling together in a time of need.
All grocery stores except one in my town were closed. The shelves were emptied in a matter of hours.
People opened up their homes to strangers, offering them a safe place to stay. People shared food, checked on their neighbors.
People banded together. Formed groups like The Cajun Navy.
Strangers… who became friends.
This disaster proved to me that when push comes to shove, there is good out there. Set aside all the pettiness in the world, and focus on helping each other out and anything can be done.
Two years later, people are still rebuilding.
Two years later, people are still sharing stories and hugs.
Two years later, the memories are seared in my mind forever.