[This is an update from Jenny (formerly Jenny Turpish — yes, THAT Jenny Turpish, but now married and I shouldn’t broadcast her new name). She moved to New Orleans after she got married. I don’t know what else to say. – Tory]

Hello all,

As much as I loathe and detest generic broadcast emails, I thought that I would make one exception to the rule and give everyone an update as to what is going on down here in the bayou. Thanks to all who have expressed such concern about us–if you’ve tried to call, please keep trying. Our phones are working, but intermittently at best. Still, I am grateful for that, as the problems around here are just beginning.

[My husband, TJ,] and I rode out the storm along with most in Baton Rouge. TJ’s mother had several “refugees” from New Orleans and Mandeville–including some of his family.

Currently this is what we know:

TJ’s sister, brother-in-law, two nieces, and “baby-on-the-way” were lucky in that they only had a “few” trees on their home in Mandeville. TJ went with his family there today to aid in the clean-up, and thankfully there wasn’t any flooding in her home-just some rainwater damage and window loss to add to the whole trees-on-the-roof problem. The thing is this–St. Tammany Parish (Slidell, which is pretty much a total loss, Covington, and Mandeville) will be without power for at least 3-4 weeks, so TJ’s sister is going to look into enrolling her 5 and 3-year olds in school here in Baton Rouge. Meanwhile, they will just live with his parents. Her baby is due in December, and I know she is really upset about the whole situation.

Other friends staying with his mom and dad just watch the news trying to ascertain whether or not their homes made it. I think the not knowing is the toughest, and no one will be allowed anywhere near New Orleans for probably at least 12 weeks.

TJ and I lost power for only ten hours. We were probably some of the first houses in Baton Rouge that had power restored, as his sister and brother (who live here) are still without power even now. Schools around here are closed until Tuesday.

It’s been really hard watching the news coverage, especially the local news. Even the anchors and broadcasters are searching the aerial photos for their own homes–most have commented they lost everything along with the rest of Southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

A friend of mine still doesn’t know where his sister is–she lived in New Orleans East–the area that only has the roofs showing for all the flood water.

The bigger problem right now for Baton Rouge is simply the numbers of people who have no place to go. Our population has doubled due to the evacuees. They are housing people in the River Center–thousands of people–and now they are concerned about the crime rate here…due simply to people who no longer have nothing to lose, and have nothing to do with their time. The local news guy, this morning, commented about going to a convenience store downtown and seeing two guys with guns in their waistbands walking around. He basically said he wanted to call 9-1-1, but how could he since at this point that was hardly and emergency. Talk about perspective. Unfortunately, locals are concerned with the coverage of the looting going on in the city, worried that the rest of the world will judge NO on the idiocy, desperation, and complete lack of morality of a few. There are going to be stories of looting, just because times of desperation bring about the worst in some. I hope the include how thousands of people around here are opening their homes and resources to strangers. It is truly amazing how the people around here are rallying and coming together to aid their neighbors. I hope that story gets some billing…

Anyhow, some have asked if they can do anything for us–which is wonderful, but we have it good here. If you really want to help (sorry to sound like a commercial) please donate to the Red Cross. They have mobilized the largest disaster relief effort in history and simply need money. (1-800-HELP NOW)

Also, please remember that whatever images you are seeing on the news–it is just the tip of the iceberg. I watched video from a helicopter that flew around for hours showing the devastation, and people from the area, people who lived there all their lives, were unable to recognize anything. New Orleans and many other cities and completely submerged. The water will be there for a long time…

Please stay in touch, and keep these poor people in your prayers.



Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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