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Bodies, Looters


I finally got through to my family down in south Louisiana today. They live just north of Baton Rouge, on high ground, and had no damage, other than fallen trees. But they have no power, and don’t know when they’ll get it back, so they’re boiling in the late August heat and humidity. Still, my sister said they would never complain, given what people are suffering not too far away. She had little idea of what’s happening, because their TVs don’t work. It’s probably just as well. I heard from a Louisiana National Guard source that there are bodies everywhere in the far south, but the authorities aren’t publicizing this.

My sister said she and the rest of the family are anticipating opening up their front yard to refugees in tents. They want to do something, anything.
She said the sense of powerlessness to help the afflicted that those who emerged unscathed feel is agonizing. I know that we are going to see in the next days and weeks the strong backs and stout hearts of the people of Louisiana made manifest in the relief effort. My great aunt Hilda Moss, who died when I was a boy, was a Red Cross worker when the 1927 flood devastated so much of the state. When they told her that a woman had no business going into the back country to bring relief, she disguised herself as a man, commandeered a boat, and brought help to stranded country people. That’s the spirit of Louisiana that I know. It’s driving me slightly crazy to be sitting here in an office in downtown Dallas instead of down there helping.


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