As devastating floods wreak havoc across southern Louisiana, area residents shared stories with HuffPost about how they’re standing strong.
Amid a death toll that’s risen to 13 as of Thursday morning, and tens of thousands of people fleeing their homes, the community is demonstrating that they have one another’s backs. Read stories below of residents helping boost one another’s morale and showing support.
James Downing Sr., Pastor in Springfield, Louisiana.
“You may not have water in your own house, but chances are you know somebody who does.””
“Our focus is to help who we can help. We are a small church, but we will help whoever we can. Something like this touches every family in the community. You may not have water in your own house, but chances are you know somebody who does.”
AJ Hebert, High School Football Coach Who Has Been Helping Rescue People.
“There was people who knew they lost everything, but if they was able to help other people they was doing it.”
“My home was not affected but I knew I had to get out there and do something to help. The community really came together. It’s sad it takes an event like this to pull people together, but it didn’t matter who you was if you could lend a hand, you was. There was people who knew they lost everything, but if they was able to help other people they was doing it.”
Ellen Anderson, 55-Year-Old Who’s Lived In Baton Rouge For Two Decades.
“We’re all together here now and we have to love everybody. We can’t hate nobody.””
“I live with my son and my daughter-in-law. We lost everything. There was water up to the ceiling. We’re still waiting on them to rescue my son. He has been trapped since Thursday. ...Ain’t no white lives matter or black lives matter. Everybody’s lives matter. This disaster shows us all that. We’re all together here now and we have to love everybody. We can’t hate nobody.”
Emily Henderson, 63-Year-Old Retiree Who’s Lived In Baton Rouge For Almost Four Decades.
““I’m usually very emotional, but I haven’t cried yet. It hasn’t hit me yet that we’ve lost our house, our car, our truck and all our furniture.”
“I’m usually very emotional, but I haven’t cried yet. It hasn’t hit me yet that we’ve lost our house, our car, our truck and all our furniture. But I have to say everyone here has been great – all the volunteers. They got us crates for our dogs, tooth brushes, tooth paste, socks, blankets, pillows and clothing. They’ve all be so nice and helpful. We’re just not sure what to do next. We did not have flood insurance. Our insurance agent had told us, ‘You don’t live in a flood zone, so you don’t need it.’ Whatever happens we’re not moving. We love our neighborhood.”
Aron Coates, Nurse Offering Assistance At Temporary Shelter In Baton Rouge.
“Right now people aren’t concerned about black vs white. We’re all just trying to survive and get everybody back on their feet.”
“There are around 3,000 people in this particular shelter. We’re seeing a lot of scrapes, hypertension, blisters and infections. We’re trying to keep the people with diabetes and high blood pressure under control. A lot of people have compared this to the flood of 1983, but I think it’s worse than that. ... Right now people aren’t concerned about black vs white. We’re all just trying to survive and get everybody back on their feet. So it kind of washed all that away and is bringing the community together again. I think in the long run it will be a healing thing.”
Elnora Patterson, 54-Year-Old Lifelong Baton Rouge Resident.
“We’re all together here and everyone is helping everyone. We’re all in it together. No racial --no different colors ― no nothing matters right now.”
“There was so much negativity before this. We don’t show enough love towards each other, so God had to do something. He had to bring us together and look at us now. We’re all together here and everyone is helping everyone. We’re all in it together. No racial - no different colors ― no nothing matters right now. We’re all in the same room. We’re together now and that’s what God wanted us to do. Sometimes it takes bad things to happen for good things to happen.”
Leslie James, 51-Year-Old Lifelong Baton Rouge Resident.
“We care about each other, we look out for each other and we’re there for each other.”
“I think this has brought us together the way we used to be. We care about each other, we look out for each other and we’re there for each other. I hope and pray people will continue to come together and that the leaders of the city, state and country will provide us with the necessary help we need to move on with our lives.”
Pat Payne, 61-Year-Old Who’s Lived In Baton Rouge For Over Two Decades.
“But as bad as it is, everybody is coming together and helping each other by doing what they can.”
“Everything is ruined. They had to come get us by boat. But as bad as it is, everybody is coming together and helping each other by doing what they can. It’s good ― it’s good to see that. Corporal Montrell Jackson ― one of the Baton Rouge police officers who was shot and killed ― he made a Facebook comment before he was killed where he said ‘Please don’t let hate infect your heart.’ I hope he’s looking down and seeing that hate is not infecting our hearts.”
John Andrews, 55-Year-Old Lifelong Baton Rouge Resident.
“My daddy built that house and it’s gone – washed away.”
“We’ve lost everything. Our neighbors have all lost everything they own. It’s hard. It hurts. My daddy built that house and it’s gone – washed away. It’s a heartbreaker. Before it got really bad my brother had called me. He lives on the other side of the river in Livingston Parish. My brother had four feet of water in his house at that point. He couldn’t get to me and I couldn’t get to him. I couldn’t help him. I’ve not seen him since and I don’t know where he’s at. We’re praying he’s OK. But I am going back. It’s my home. I can’t leave.”
Diane Andrews, 69-Year-Old Lifelong Baton Rouge Resident.
“Katrina was bad, but this is worse. With everything that has been going on here lately it makes you wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
“Katrina was bad, but this is worse. With everything that has been going on here lately it makes you wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow. I was so sore from holding that table steady with my dogs on it. The first couple days I couldn’t walk. My arms and legs hurt so bad. It was traumatizing. Today is the first day in three days that my dogs have started eating. We have survived it so far. We’re just hoping we get some help.”
Check out ways to help those affected by the floods here.