Just three years ago, Louisiana faced the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of that storm, there was hardly a day that went by when a national news source did not report a story of the devastation and slow recovery of the area. These stories were sorely needed and resulted in critical aid pouring into the state.
Now, nearly three years to the day later, Louisiana has again faced the wrath of a hurricane. There is no denying that Katrina was devastating and in so many ways the New Orleans area is still recovering. But, for people in our area, Gustav was a disaster in its own right, leaving more than 100,000 homes and businesses without power for nearly a week, some still waiting.
Yet, where is the national media? No sooner had the sun risen on that Tuesday after the storm than all but local media headed off to other stories. Due to lessons learned from Katrina, there was strong state and local leadership, as well as personal preparations. Fortunately this time, there were no dramatic airlift rescues and no looting riots. This does not mean that there were no stories worth covering. Over and over again, we saw neighbors helping neighbors and strangers stepping in when needed.The absence of national media coverage has affected storm recovery in an unexpected way; the head of the Baton Rouge Red Cross says it's meant a lack of much needed financial donations. The rest of the nation is under the impression that we are fine and living life as normal. While things are looking up and recovery is in site, we are far from life as usual. Many help organizations are short on funds and stretched on resources. We have let national news organizations know and we urge you to let friends and relatives out of state know that we are still here, we are still struggling and still in need help.