On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida devastated the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. With maximum sustained winds just short of a category five threshold, Ida was the strongest storm to make landfall in Louisiana since the 1800s. With only a few days' notice, our neighbors and friends on the southern coast prepared diligently. Generators, water bottles, non-perishable food, and gasoline quickly became sold out. There's a sense of panic anytime a hurricane creeps its way towards land; an imminent appointment with pure force and rage along with an eerie and all-too-familiar feeling. The realization that we've faced this storm before— sixteen years earlier on the exact same date.
Many may faintly remember when Hurricane Katrina trampled the Louisiana and Mississippi coast on August 29, 2005, but it's something we'll never forget. Katrina left a life-long scar on all who were shaken by her 127 mph winds. When the levees broke, New Orleans flooded, and almost 2,000 people died. The aftermath and mourning was felt for years afterward.
Even after sixteen years, tragic scenes of scattered homes and livelihoods remain embedded in our minds. Yet the most profound memory is not of the winds or the tornadoes or the trees crashing down.
What impacts us the most is the picture of hundreds of neighbors from across the state and the country showing up to help one another. Gathering to provide essential supplies to those who lost everything, communities coming together for a potluck before their frozen food ruins, men with chainsaws clearing the streets for linemen who had been working for days on end. Devastation is hard to forget, but we choose to remember the helpers. They changed everything.
Today, we can be helpers to the families affected by Hurricane Ida.