Hi all, thanks for all your concern for us Louisianians. The picture of Ida in Southern Louisiana is starting to come into focus and I thought I’d update you from what I know, and also provide some suggestions for places to direct donations if you are feeling donationy. (I am in Ft. Worth so listening to the reports of people I know and local leaders). First off, if you don’t hear from Violet or anyone else in NOLA, don’t panic – communication is difficult right now and they have to conserve power. It’s also bad etiquette to blow up people’s phones right now. If you haven’t heard from or about someone you know outside of New Orleans where the situation is more dire, you can DM me and I’ll see if I can find reports specifically on their area or if anyone can go check on them.
It looks like New Orleans fared OK, all things considered. Little if any flooding – which is a giant damn surprise since we flood in regular afternoon storms these days. No levee failures, which we actually did expect to go well because they have been really improved since Katrina. And actually we are all feeling so damn good that the new levees were stress tested basically with a stronger clone of Katrina and passed. It seems that wind was the big culprit and the damage is going to come from downed trees, torn up roofs, etc. This can still result in big mold issues but they come from rain and humidity rather than flood waters. As of now they are making the major roads passable but many of them are closed to the public. Anyone evacuating in the aftermath is having to take some weird routes. Otherwise the city just looks like it rained plants. Photos from my friends:
There are 8 major lines that bring power into New Orleans metro area and they all went down – something no one predicted. They are saying it could be weeks on power restoration. Hopefully they can get it faster for the hospitals etc. There are a lot – I mean A LOT of people who could not evacuate – it is extremely expensive, requires everyone to be able to take a long road trip which doesn’t work for medically vulnerable people, and in this case, the storm intensified so quickly they flat out did not have the time to implement an evacuation. So the situation there with the lack of resources is going to be critical.
Outside New Orleans
If you are seeing reports of attic rescues and failed levees, this is outside New Orleans. The good news there is that it’s much less populated and also they did manage to evacuate many of these areas (one of the logistical issues with evacuation is they have to get the southern parishes out before they can evacuate New Orleans. So they did marginally better with that part than NOLA). The bad news is these people are very very fucked. There are suburbs of New Orleans that don’t usually have flood threats who were devastated. It’s possible that might make gas prices nationwide plummet then rise quickly – keep an eye on that for your own benefit.
We want all of you outside of us to be cognizant of this – the national media will focus on New Orleans, be disappointed they don’t get to show Katrina scale footage of damage in a major city, and move on. They did it already with southwest Louisiana who experienced two major hurricanes last year (one of which is tied with Ida as the strongest to ever hit the state). It’s impossible to know right now, but they estimate SW Louisiana lost 20% of their population permanently. I am now wondering what that looks like for the parts of SE Louisiana outside our federal levee system.
If you or anyone you know is looking to help, these are really good places to send your money. National organizations like the Red Cross spend a lot of money on PR and overhead, and many of them are not good at getting people what they need quickly.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
The Cajun Navy shows up before the strongest military in the world (and with more boats) to rescue their people from attics and flood waters. The floods have not receded in many of the hardest hit places and this is still underway.
Culture Aid NOLA, Southern Solidarity, and Feed the Second Line are feeding people in New Orleans right now. Even though they didn’t see that level devastation, power being out and people being poor means everyone is going to be hungry. It’s also where a lot of refugees from the southern parishes landed.
World Central Kitchen is feeding people all over the area.
GENERAL MUTUAL AID
Imagine Water Works is performing mutual aid all over the region, targeting the most vulnerable people. They use organizational skills to connect people with other people to get all non monetary needs met (a typical way this looks is they would say “looking for a wheelchair and dog food” and they’d find someone who can provide).
This is going to sound sketchy to outsiders but this person is a well known and respected activist who spends time just getting cash to people through her unorganized organization Forever Calcasieu. She usually focuses on SW Louisiana (hence the name) but has pivoted. Follow her Twitter for ways you can get cash in the hands of desperate people immediately.
Um we have to fucking deal with this shit, so the environmental groups RISE St. James, Gulf South for a Green New Deal, and Louisiana Bucket Brigade are good places to start. As the remnants of Hurricane Ida head toward New York, remember that if we can’t get Louisiana to get its shit together, you are all fucked by this eventually.
I’ve never felt so cared about as I have in the past few days. My husband and I are basically in the best possible situation and we are so lucky for it. We evacuated to my family in TX where we can stay comfortably and indefinitely for free with our pets. Since they don’t know when power is coming back on, that is important.
We were in the process of moving to a new house and our stuff is there but we weren’t living there yet – the house is owned by my friend who will be living in the other side of it. Because of her job she cannot evacuate, and managed to call me to tell me everything is fine. So now we do not have to choose between comfort and survival (staying in TX) and salvaging our belongingings. It is a big relief. We can just wait for power or when my husband has to go back to work, whichever comes first. In our part of the city, the only real concern was if you were unlucky enough for debris to break a window or for a tree to fall on your house. Looks like the only casualty was our grill that got thrown around the yard (it’s huge so this is impressive) and the food in our fridge which my friends need anyway so they’re going to cook it up and eat it.
Thanks everyone! @myopicprophet, thanks for checking in on me. And sorry about any formatting issues, I’m on an iPad and also it’s been a while haha.