Isaac was a powerful, slow moving storm packing strong winds and heavy rains that lingered over our state long enough to knock down power lines and inundate our communities. It was a storm that arrived slowly, left slowly, and whose impacts are still being felt by many of our friends and neighbors.
The truth though is that no storm – no matter how powerful – could ever shake the generous and resilient spirit of our people. In Isaac’s wake, just as in disasters past, you don’t have to look far to find folks reaching out a helping hand to those affected by the storm.
Whether it’s a faith-based organization providing meals to those evacuated from their homes, the American Red Cross providing shelter for those in need, or neighbors helping neighbors clear debris – there is kindness and compassion all around us.
I witnessed an example of this Louisiana spirit when I visited a nursing home in Plaquemines Parish during the storm. I met a caretaker there who lost his home seven years ago during Hurricane Katrina. Throughout that storm and in the aftermath, he remained on duty to care for those who needed him.
Seven years later, he›s still working at a nursing home and when I met with him last week, he told me that he›d lost his home again due to Isaac. Yet, there he was, still caring, consoling, and serving the folks who needed his help.
That’s just one example, but there are many more. For example, the sheriff’s deputies in St. John the Baptist Parish, assisted by the Louisiana National Guard and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries search and rescue teams, worked tirelessly to rescue their neighbors from homes threatened by rapidly rising waters. Some of the deputies’ own homes were taking on water at the time, yet they stayed on the job to help rescue more than 4,000 people.
All in all, the brave men and women in our National Guard, State Police, and the search and rescue teams at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries helped rescue and evacuate more than 5,000 people threatened by the storm. With the help of faith-based organizations and non-profits, we have delivered more than 3 million meals, more than 5 million bottles of water, and more than 1 million bags of ice.
The truth is that Hurricane Isaac was an all-hands-on-deck mission to protect the lives and property of our citizens. Our efforts are far from over, but it’s at times like these that I am reminded of the generosity, resilience, and spirit of our people.
We’ve seen tough times before, but we always bounce back. I know we will come back better and stronger than before.
That’s what we do in Louisiana.