We were camping in the rain when I heard news of the flooding in Louisiana. It seemed a world away, although from where I live in Austin, TX – to where it happened – is only 450 or so miles. Close, and even closer, when those floods affect someone you know. The way the news was solely focused on an Olympic swimmer’s bad behavior, I had no idea how bad things were in Louisiana. To my relief, my friends in Lafayette and Baton Rouge had “checked in” on Facebook saying they were alright.
Then I received an email from another friend. “Just a quick note to let you know, even though Lucy and Ricky’s house didn’t flood inside, things are bad for them.” (For their privacy, I have changed their names.) “Please drop her a couple words of encouragement.” That’s the kind of woman she is. I wrote Lucy that night, asking if there was anything at all that we could do to help.
She responded this morning, and we emailed back-and-forth for more than two hours. Lucy told me they’d been in their new house for less than a year, and thankfully the house was okay. While their new neighborhood in Greenwell was damaged, (see left) their old house and neighborhood in Central, (below) just three miles away, were ruined by the flood. They have three people living with them right now, and Ricky’s company was a total loss. “I am focused,” she said, “on keeping everyone fed and comfortable.”
Lucy told me it had been very emotionally and physically draining, knowing that so much of Louisiana is a total loss. “We will be fine,” she said, “I went through all of this during Katrina when we had 18 people living with us for four months. Back then, I saw the home and city I grew up in completely destroyed. This time I saw the home and neighborhood where we raised all three of our girls completely destroyed.”
I can’t imagine going through that once, but to go through it twice is mind-bending. Lucy agreed, “It’s definitely been an eye-opening and heart-breaking experience.” I asked why they had moved. “We needed more land for the race cars and motorhome.” It was good that they moved when they did. I pointed out that their toys saved them, and she laughed. “That’s true!” then she added, “I’m glad we moved, this house definitely saved our lives, and has given shelter to others.” Those others are her youngest daughter (who is expecting) and son-in-law, and a friend who has also lost everything.
“Last thing. . . looking on the bright side, we should have 5 1/2 people by next week. Our daughter should be induced if she hasn’t gone into labor by then. Can’t wait to get that baby in my hands!”
With all of her family history gone, she’s focusing on the good that is yet to come, because, that’s the kind of woman she is.