Aerial views show severity of wide-spread flooding
Though its certainly not getting the same or even similar coverage as Hurricane Katrina, massive swaths of Southeast Louisiana are under water.
To appreciate just how severe the flooding is, take a look at these before and after shots compiled by the BBC:
How much rain did SE Louisiana get? This much:
4 TRILLION GALLONS: The total rainfall over southern Louisiana Aug. 12-14 was equivalent to more than 4 trillion gallons of water, according to Dr. Matt Sitkowski of The Weather Channel. That’s enough water to fill more than six million Olympic-sized swimming pools, he added.
31.39 INCHES OF RAIN: The maximum rainfall total for this event was 31.39 inches in Watson, Louisiana, just northeast of Baton Rouge. At least five other locations had observed rainfall totals in excess of two feet, all located north or east of Baton Rouge.
Why the lack of wall to wall media coverage? Most obviously, the fact that communities are banding together to help one another isn’t as sexy as “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
One of the most thoughtful exposé on the matter was written by Skye Cooley for the Huffington Post:
Through it all, media coverage was so lacking that people living outside of the immediate area resorted to social media sites to updates themselves on what was happening in the area; using uploaded videos, pictures, and posts to piece together events and timelines, the pathways of the moving water, and how long the crisis would last. As cellular service failed, power went out across town after town, and families scrambled to find shelter, secure rescue, and just survive…news media coverage was virtually silent. A number of very good articles have been written about why, mostly speaking on the fact that the flood did not fit the narrative of entertainment the news media requires in order to garner coverage. The few articles that complain on the lack of national media coverage all have the same goal in mind… to get more media coverage on the event so that the scope of the tragedy can be known and help given to those people in need.
To accomplish this, they focus on the scope of the tragedy itself; as I resorted to earlier in this piece. In order to achieve the goal of coverage, those of us who care about the heartbreak in southeast Louisiana are forced to package it in those narrative frames of entertainment and historic loss in order to get anyone to care… and that to me is the larger tragedy. The tragedy is that strong, loving, cohesive communities, because of their strength and resilience, cannot be celebrated and assisted at the same time. That in order to be worthy of attention the very fabric of societal order has to have been sheered away; news media requires scenes that look like a zombie apocalypse, not scores of hometown heroes trying their best to rescue one another.
Louisiana is a resilient state built by self-reliant, hard-working people. I have no doubts they’ll bounce back just fine, with or without the media spotlight.
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