Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

The Second Noble Truth is that there is a cause for suffering. By looking deeply into our suffering we can set out on the path toward healing and liberation. This is a talk by Lyndon Marcotte at Cenla Meditation Group on 3/12/13.

We survived Hurricane Gustav with only inconvenience. Only two houses in my family were lost or substantially damaged. At one point this week only two parishes in Louisiana had 100% power restored. As of today, over 800,000 people/businesses still have no power, a little less than half of the population. In addition to power outages local municipalities sustained significant damage to infrastructure. Many communities as far north as Central Louisiana where I live had no public water supply following the hurricane for days.

Two days after Gustav made landfall and passed through Central Louisiana the city of Alexandria sustained widespread flash flooding. Entire neighborhoods that have never seen flooding were under water. Those families lost automobiles and sustained major damage to their homes, many of which had no flood insurance. By some accounts this was either a 50 or 100 year storm for this area. My house is the highest on my street and saw no water accumulate in the street, so I’d like to think we wouldn’t flood.

It should not be understated that at least 18 people lost their lives in Louisiana this week as a result of the hurricane. One of the saddest I hear of is that the Sheriff of Moss Bluff and his wife died in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning from their generator outside their home. Supposedly there was only a crack in the door for the extension cord coming into the house, but it was enough to draw in the exhaust fumes and kill them while they slept on their couches in the living room with a window A/C unit running. Still others died when trees fell on their homes and crushed them. It’s just sad.

Louisianians learned many lessons following hurricane’s Katrina and Rita. Governor Bobby Jindal deserves much of the credit for the preparedness and implementation of hurricane plans for the state. It was a monumental difference from the last time. We witnessed perhaps the fastest exodus of the largest amount of people in history this past week as nearly 2 million fled south Louisiana in a four day time span, including moving thousands of hospital and nursing home patients by airlift. Those same evacuees are returning home now to find widespread shortages of food and fuel. The impact of the storm is far from over.

The national news coverage leading up to the storm was pitiful. The “story” was all about New Orleans, whether there would be a repeat of Katrina, and how this would impact the Republican National Convention. For those preparing for one of the worst storms to possibly hit Louisiana only the local news media was helpful in making decisions and preparations. I was very angry to tune in to the national news three days after landfall to find that the story was that New Orleans missed the big one and that it wasn’t that bad. The damage from Gustav far exceeded the area hardest hit by Hurricane Rita and Katrina. While we’re all very grateful that New Orleans did not flood again, it does nothing to minimize the impact felt by families all across Louisiana.

We lost power Monday afternoon. I didn’t expect to see it restored till at least this weekend, but we were suprised to have it back on Wednesday evening. Our water supply was never interrupted. During the outage we had record levels of humidity that only added to everyone’s misery. We didn’t complain and didn’t expect power right away, but after two days the need to get ice was becoming critical. The American Red Cross manned shelters across the area, but they were reserved for evacuees from south La only. Once Central Louisiana became part of the impact area, local high schools were opened for local residents as well. Basic supplies like bottled water, ice, and food were not readily available for several days following the storm.

There will be more lessons learned from this storm as well. I’ll keep more batteries on hand now. I’ll also freeze blocks of my own ice in my freezer for the days leading up to landfall, because we won’t be able to count on anyone else. Aside from a few idiots who always show themselves during times of crisis, the people of Louisiana are decent and resilient. We’ll get thru this one too. We always do.