Status Report: Baton Rouge Flood
Hey y'all! This blog post is less of a blog post and more of a >140 character status. If y'all are in Baton Rouge you're probably sitting in about 5 feet of water. If you're not in Baton Rouge or the surrounding area, perhaps you've heard on the news. We've been hit with an enormous amount of flooding since Thursday night. Record crests have been recorded on all local rivers, houses in non-flood-zones are in 4 feet of water and thousands of people have been displaced from their homes.
It's been a devastating time for a lot of folks to be sure. But our community is strong — we've seen people rally together to help their friends, family, neighbors and strangers. My Dad, Uncle and I spent all day Saturday helping evacuate people by boat, and we weren't the only ones. Dozens of people, some of whom had evacuated their own homes just that morning, were driving boats, cooking meals, offering extra bedrooms, giving rides to shelters and more. I'm so thankful to be a part of this community.
Our house began taking on water about noon yesterday and it peaked at about 4.5 feet. We've thankfully been able to salvage some of our clothes and other belongings which we'll dry out and see if they're still usable. We evacuated our chickens and rabbits from their barn and put them up in our tree house so they're safe for now. Our dog and cat are staying with us at our neighbors' house and are safe, dry and warm. All said, we're very grateful.
The crazy part was God's provision in His timing. One of my sisters was already at college out of town and was safe along with a livable amount of her things. My other sister was planning to go to college Saturday so her things were packed in plastic tubs which we found floating in the house - her things nice and dry inside - and I was planning to go see a friend out of town so all of my most valued things were packed in my car which is safe.
Sure, tough times come now and then — it's how we deal with them that defines what type of person we'll be. Will we complain? Will we only see what we've lost? Or will we see an opportunity to start fresh and be grateful for the things we still have?
UPDATE: TUESDAY, AUGUST 16
Yesterday, we were heading to the house to check on the chickens and the rabbits when we realized the flood waters were completely gone! Overnight. Three and a half feet. Gone.
We immediately kicked into overdrive and began hauling stuff to the road. Today, we had some friends and family members come in and help us out. With the extra hands, we were able to gut about 80% of the house, stripping out sheet rock, insulation and flooring. The cul de sac that we live on is piled 5 feet high with trash all the way around with gaps in the debris wall just big enough for vehicles to get through.
The house is basically a slab and roof connected by a bunch of 2x4s. We made some serious progress today so we're hopeful that we can get the rest out tomorrow and make some headway on dehumidifying it before starting construction. HUGE thank you to the folks who came out to help today — you guys are rockstars. Once again, proof of the beautiful community God has placed us in.
UPDATE: THURSDAY, AUGUST 18
This is a video that I directed at MESH for Visit Baton Rouge — the messaging couldn't come at a more poignant time. We began working on the video after the shootings but when the floods came, we knew it had to be released immediately. When tragedy strikes, it's disheartening... it's easy for everything to be shrouded by the gloom. So we need a reminder of who we are. And why we are #BatonRouge strong.