,As many of you know in August of 2016 thousands of Southeastern Louisiana's residents went to sleep one night and woke up to their homes being engulfed by rising flood waters. In the wake of catastrophic loss the beauty of a community coming together began to unfold. When I decided to help as I watched complete loss from a screen in my home I could have never imagined the journey ahead of me. Being a service work virgin going into this I was immediately swept away into an effort that showed me the beautiful chaos that is post disaster work.
From August to December I volunteered full time to help those in need pick up the pieces post flood by creating Southeastern Louisiana Boots On the Ground and working tirelessly alongside so many other amazing organizations born in the wake of the great flood. One of those organizations was The Cajun Army, a well oiled machine that was born as flood waters went from zero to 8 feet or more in under two hours and lead three men to hop in a boat in order to help the many left stranded on roofs.
In January it was crucial I step away from relief efforts in order to get my own life back on track after months of full time volunteering and no income. Flying by the seat of my pants basically because I had no choice. It was impossible to walk away after my first day out there seeing what I saw. I made it work. I had to. Yesterday after 3 months of "helping Katie time" I could no longer ignore the call in my heart, I needed to get out there again.
The Cajun Army continues daily in its efforts to seek out the need and doing what they can to help meet that need. It has been 8 months and still there are many in need of assistance. So when I was ready to jump back in for a day to donate a few hours of my time The Cajun Army is who I turned to knowing they would have work to be done and work we did.
The following images were taken yesterday while volunteering with The Cajun Army at a home in St. Amant, Louisiana still needing a full gut and we were there to help. The amazing CA crew I kicked off my Monday right with included LyAnn Marie Romashyna, Jen Squires, Regina Solar Weyden, Cat Roule and David Flickinger. These are the type of people whose hugs are a little tighter and linger a little longer. I have had the pleasure of meeting an incredible group of humans throughout this experience.
This homeowner is currently in a FEMA trailer on the property that will not be there forever wondering how she will put her house back together as she battles the insurance company. The sadness was unmistakable. Feeling it myself as she expressed thanks thinking, she is basically thanking us for tearing her house down to the studs and that sucks. The reality of loss like that even after months of involvement is one that hits me every single time with the same force. Normalcy is something many are continuing to work towards and the process will take years for some.
The need is still very present. Fresh volunteers are desperately needed. Many volunteers involved have been at it since day one and need more hands to help. Want to help? The best donation right now is your time. One day. A few hours. Give.
Sign up at www.thecajunarmy.com to find out how you can help!
Shout out the The Cajun Army demo crew I spent the day with as we worked together to bring hope to this homeowner.