Red Neck Katrina: The Great Louisiana Flood of 2016 demonstrates that the people of South Louisiana are better than their President
I remember reading awhile back that some Harvard law students petitioned for an extension to take their final exams. They said they were so so upset by racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri that they were unable to prepare for their tests.
It is a good thing that the people of South Louisiana are made of sterner stuff--otherwise we would all be dead.
Torrential rains--unprecedented in modern times--fell on South Louisiana last week, swelling rivers and bayous and flooding thousands of homes. The Tickfaw, the Amite, the Comite, the Tangipahoa, Bayou Manchac, Bayou Paul--the list of streams goes on and on; and the people who lived along these waters lost their homes. A few of them died.
But most were rescued. Last Sunday, helicopters flew over Livingston Parish continuously, rescuing people off their roofs and ferrying medical emergencies. National Guard trucks came in by the dozens and evacuated thousands.
But there were simply to many victims for the official first responders to rescue them all. Livingston Parish alone has 141,000 residents; and I estimate that a hundred thousand of them were threatened by flood waters. And Livingston Parish was just one of a dozen parishes that were flooded.
Fortunately, the cajun navy mobilized, and hundreds of South Louisiana men and women launched their boats and prowled the waters of the flooded parishes over the weekend. Who knows how many people they saved. I know one man who launched his duck hunting boat and ferried out 67 people from the town of Central in East Baton Rouge Parish, including two pregnant woman.
In my own family, my wife and her parents were stranded by high water in the town of Denham Springs. My stepson talked his way past police barricades and launched his boat at the Denham Springs exit on Interstate 12. He managed to get everyone to safety and back to Baton Rouge without the assistance of any government official.
The great Louisiana flood of 2016 was not triggered by a named storm, so I'll call it the redneck Katrina. This deluge does not rank with the original Katrina of 2005; far fewer people were killed. Nevertheless, it was a catastrophe on a monumental scale. At least 40,000 homes were flooded; and I think that tally is likely to grow higher.
But the national news gave us very little coverage. Perhaps the demographics are wrong--most of the victims were working-class white people. Or maybe we had the misfortune to be flooded at the same time people in Milwaukee were rioting. Or perhaps Anderson Cooper and Andrew Cuomo simply don't give a damn about the nameless Southerners who inhabit the water country of South Louisiana.
I was one of the people who was rescued out of Livingston Parish on Sunday night. As our party motored home driving down the wrong side of Interstate 12, I was deeply moved to see a long line of pickup trucks and boat trailers parked behind the police barricade that kept the highway closed. Obviously, they were waiting for daylight to go into Livingston Parish to rescue more stranded families.
And I realized that the people of South Louisiana are a great people, and they deserve a better President than the one they have. Barack Obama has no clue about the courage, grit, and spirit of these amazing people.
President Obama was playing golf on Martha's Vineyard while people were clinging to their roofs. He was sipping chardonnay with the moneyed fat cats while the Cajuns were rescuing their neighbors out of their homes.
Barack can cry real tears when a policemen shoots a black man--even a black man carrying a gun. But I'll bet he didn't give Southerners any thought at all during our flood. After all, most of the flood victims were white people who didn't vote for him.
Incredibly, and to the world's shame, the Europeans gave the Nobel Peace Prize to a man who thinks about no one but himself, a man who has not done a single generous thing in his entire life. The nameless men of the Cajun navy displayed more courage, more self sacrifice, more humanity in one hour than Barack Obama has displayed over his entire life.
Barack Obama despises the people of South Louisiana. He despises their courage, their religious values, their respect for human life. He obsesses on gun control, not realizing that guns serve a useful function in our part of the world. After all, Barack doesn't need a gun--he has the Secret Service.
And another thing: The people of South Louisiana are better than the media elite who control our news and our culture. These are the people who only show up to cover disasters that are photogenic--that make them look courageous because they stand in the rain on Bourbon Street after a hurricane.
I picture Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Erin Burnett all perched together on the roof top of a double-wide in Ascension Parish with the water rising and the snakes slithering about.
I'll bet they would very happy to see a Cajun skimming over the water in a mud boat. And if the Cajun who pulled up to rescue them had a Glock in his dry box, well that would probably be OK. Barack would probably skip his lecture on gun control and just scamper into the boat.
Richard Fossey is a professor at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana. He received his law degree from the University of Texas and his doctorate from Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is editor of Catholic Southwest, A Journal of History and Culture.