The rain hadn’t stopped falling on southeast Louisiana and the Gulfport firefighters were already there.
Gulfport’s swiftwater rescue teams were among the first to arrive in the state’s capital region, where tens of thousands of homes were flooded.
They were among the brave men and women who pulled 30,000 people from floodwaters, from roofs and trees and from rapidly shrinking islands of dry land.
They won’t be the last.
And they’ll be needed. By some accounts, more than 30 inches of rain fell on areas drained by the Amite and Comite rivers. The results have been horrendous. Thousands of homes flooded or destroyed. Thousands of people living in shelters for the foreseeable future. A massive cleanup and recovery that will take years. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Here’s something else that sounds familiar.
Officials and volunteers in South Mississippi quickly began gathering supplies to send to those who just Tuesday began returning to find their homes full of muck and despair. We are quick to respond and we know what they need because we have been there ourselves.
One of the great lessons of Katrina was the breathtaking generosity of total strangers.
And we will pay that generosity forward. For we know we could find ourselves in similar straits any day.
Our experience has taught us another thing. The flood, once the sun shines again, will fade from the nightly newscasts and the morning front pages. But it will not fade from the nation’s consciousness. We know because we’ve been there. We will not forget.
America stuck with South Mississippi for years as we slowly pieced our lives back together. Even as our need subsided, some returned just to reunite with the fast friends they made here.
That, for Louisiana, is the goodness that will come of this calamity. It may not seem like much to those with homes full of critters and mud but they are not alone. Help, if it isn’t there, is right around the corner.
We urge all our friends and neighbors in South Mississippi to remember the generosity shown us and to be just as generous to those in Louisiana.
And let us not forget those in our own state who are dealing with flooded homes and wrecked infrastructure. At least 71 homes were damaged mostly in Crosby and Centreville, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Adams, Amite, Pike and Wilkinson counties all had significant flooding.
The Coast sent a couple truckloads of supplies needed for the initial cleanup. And we’re sure that won’t be the last.
The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.
How to help
United Way: http://www.unitedwaysela.org/flood
Salvation Army: https://goo.gl/o1Bt3d
Red Cross: Donations via telephone. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or text LAFLOODS to 90999 to donate $10
Denham Springs Animal Shelter: https://www.gofundme.com/2jdh3xg4