Massive Flooding in Baton Rouge

August 17, 2016

Dear friends,

Its hard for me to believe that I am composing another post to you about my hometown, Baton Rouge, but here I am doing just that.

I am hoping that many of you have seen on the news what is happening in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. I can tell you first hand that the devastation I am seeing is similar to what we witnessed after Katrina in New Orleans. The area that is impacted by flooding is enormous. Statistics are showing that 4 trillion gallons of water dumped on our area in a matter of 48 hours. The amount to fill 6 million olympic size pools. The places that were flooded were not areas used to getting water, so many did not have flood insurance.  The water rose so fast that many were trapped in their homes having to be evacuated by boat.

My own parents were evacuated by boat on Saturday afternoon as their home began to be surrounding by water. Something, I promise you do not want to watch your family member go through. They stayed with us until yesterday morning when we were able to get back to their home to assess damages. Thankfully, their damage is minimal.

The impact is so overwhelming its hard to know where to start helping.  I am reminded of posts that Beth Knobbe shared earlier in our mercy matters series about asking of the need before we act.

Many in our area are trying to assess needs before they can share with others how to help.  I invite you to begin praying now as we wait and listen for the needs that will come. I am writing you, my readers and friends, to not only pray for all that are impacted, but I ask that you also pray how you and your organizations might be able to consider LONG-ROAD support.

I spoke to several priests and ministry people today. They need space to assess needs for their organizations and also for the people of their parish. Once they know needs, would you consider seeing how your church, your organization, or even a group of friends might be able to help. Adopting another church? Adopting families in need? Helping schools get back on their feet? I am joining with you in my own discernment of how to act right now.

There are 12,000 people in shelters that they know of right now with waters still rising in an area of our state. There is the question of finding housing for all that were displaced as well as the long road of recovery ahead. Chris and I drove through neighborhoods on the way to my parents house that the roads were piled high with 100s of people’s entire belongings on the front of their yards. That was just one small area that we saw.

Throughout all of this, I am reminded of the strength of the people in Louisiana. The “cajun navy” was in full force rescuing people from homes and rooftops. My own uncle, brother, and my hubby, Chris were part of this rescue effort. The power of social media has been unbelievable as people were using Facebook to post their need of rescue and people were able to respond.

As I know more I will share with you specifics, but for now I can only turn to St. Ignatius’ wisdom of discernment: For us to pray. For us gather data of what is needed.  For us to discern how we might be called to respond.

How might we be called to put mercy in action to support the people in Louisiana?

Know from the bottom of my heart I thank you, and know that I join you in prayer for the people here and for discerning how to respond to the needs I see.



***Photo found from this website.

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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  1. Lynda

    Becky, I’m so sorry to hear of such devastation. People’s lives are turned upside-down but God’s mercy and love are in the middle of this because people like your uncle, your brother and your husband band together to help. Prayers for all affected by this flood and so many other sites of devastation this summer – the fires in California are an example. In Canada we had the Fort McMurray fire that shocked everyone but resulted in people gathering together to help – even the Syrian refugees in our area had bake sales to gather a bit of money to contribute to those left homeless by the fire.
    Thank you for bringing this need to us and for putting a face on it.

  2. Janet

    From Northern California, our church is sending a team focused on debris removal, home mud-outs, and prayer. Our hope is in God.


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