What we learned from Barry

Wow, what a week.

Barry came and went this weekend after literally a full week and a half of tracking his every move — dating back to when the system was a swirl of clouds in Memphis, Tennessee heading south to dip into the Gulf of Mexico and, ultimately, develop into a Hurricane.

Our newsroom worked tirelessly throughout the storm to keep you, our loyal readers, updated.

By mid-day Saturday, we were tired and exhausted, as were you. But together, we pushed through the worst of the storm and got past to the other side.

A few days have passed since Barry’s landfall and like every major event in a news cycle, there are always lessons that have been learned by the experiences of our immediate past.

For one, Barry taught us the importance of levees.

The areas that have them were mostly spared of storm-related damages. The areas that don’t suffered and were prone to flooding waters and the worst of the storm’s damages.

Lafourche’s levees are a bell cow — not just locally, but in the entire state. It comes as no surprise that the system withstood a small storm. It’s withstood hurricanes and several rain events in the past several years.

But many of Terrebonne’s levees and floodgates are newer and are relatively untested. And by and large, they passed this test as best as could be expected, though there is a lot of work needed to complete the Morganza to the Gulf system and keep the area even safer in the future.

Local lawmakers deserve credit for our area’s protection, but credit also goes to every, single person reason this newspaper — the citizens of Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. You all have taken it upon yourselves to be taxed so that our area is protected during storm season. That investment has made us far safer now than we were 20 years ago and heck, we can even say we’re safer now than we were 5 years ago, as well.

Storm protection aside, we also saw on display something we already knew — the resiliency of our people.

Most survived Barry with little-to-no damage. But others weren’t as lucky. In every story we received of severe damage, we heard of locals offering their time, resources or equipment to help.

Before the storm, we saw images of stronger, younger citizens voluntarily returning to sandbag locations to fill bags for elderly or women with children.

We heard stories of locals giving bottles of water to linesmen working to fix outages, tales of friends offering living space to others in harms way and we saw photos of people turning life without electricity into mud parties and memory-making that will last a lifetime.

On top of it all, we also learned the place and important role that a local newspaper plays during times of crisis.

Our newsroom put the time clock away last week. We did not and could not quit at 5 p.m.

We worked literally sun-up to sun-down to give you the latest and most up to date information about Barry, its track and both parishes’ plans to fight back against the storm.

It was hard, tiring work, but for us, it’s a labor of love.

And the reason why it’s a labor of love for us is because we have an engaged, intelligent and receptive audience that buys into what we’re doing and provides fuel to feed our fire. We might be in our offices producing news for your consumption, but behind the scenes, we are just like you. Our newsroom is 100 percent local — literally every, single member was born and raised in the Houma-Thibodaux area.

When news matters to you, it matters to us, too, because it’s happening in the communities we live and to the people we know.

We sincerely hope that passion we have bled through in our work in the past week, because we’ve sure poured our heart and soul into keeping you all informed — free of charge on our website without hassles, restrictions or requirements.

Until next time (and we hope next time is many, many years from now), thanks to our readers for participating in what’s been a crazy week.

Barry’s gone and it will take a little time for some locals to get back right after a tough, trying week.

But we’ll be here to follow the progression back to the norm every, single step of the way.

That’s what we do.

And we do it for you. •