September 4th, 2020 by Johnna Crider
Elon Musk recently joined others in helping Louisiana recover from Hurricane Laura. A week ago Thursday, Hurricane Laura tore through my state. The aftermath is tragic, and this tragedy is compounded by the lack of major media attention.
Our State is Resilient.
Our People Will Come Back. pic.twitter.com/f6B1PsQcYT
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 1, 2020
I am not in Lake Charles, but anyone can monitor the Twitter streams with tweets about Lake Charles. There are a few of us who have been staying up late (3:00am for me) tweeting just to add our voices into the mix. Whether it’s spamming celebrities or trending topics like #SoupNazi (I tweeted that you could donate soup and canned goods, quite a bit), we’ve been pushing for help.
Elon Musk donated to SWLA Community Foundation!!!
— Sally B. (@sallykaybee) September 1, 2020
Two days ago, I felt really depressed after seeing heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story. People who lost everything were sharing their Cash App links or GoFundMe sites just to raise funds for survival.
Lake Charles isn’t the only one. Other towns scattered across Southwest Louisiana (SWLA) have been wiped out or are barely standing in the midst of tangled powerlines, trees, and devastation. Several chemical plants are closed and one even caught on fire a few hours after Laura’s landfall.
— Nikki (@nikkitini_) September 2, 2020
When that one caught on fire just outside of Lake Charles (in the Sulphur area,) our governor issued a stay-in-place order and told people to make sure their A/C units were off and the windows were closed. This made me assume that the storm wasn’t so bad — I mean, if they have power for A/C, they are fine, right?
Then I saw the tweet by Victoria which inspired this piece. It seemed as if no one was talking about Lake Charles — as if Louisiana had been forgotten again. One of the most beautiful things about Louisiana is our culture and people. We band together to help others, to help neighbors (it’s how the Cajun Navy was formed).
I befriended a few people online, including Nikki, who is a law student at Loyola in New Orleans. She is from Natchitoches, which was one of the new parishes just recently granted FEMA services. Natchitoches is pretty far north of here, and the storm hit there as well as North Louisiana. Nikki, a graduate of LSU and Loyola, has a passion for using her voice to help others. (She’s currently in Florida visiting at Stetson Law.)
She pointed out that when Laura hit Natchitoches, it was a Category 2, and this is “wild and unheard of.” Her mom said that “It was the worst she’s seen in that part of the state.”
Upon finding out about the donations from Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla who was in Europe when he donated to several Louisiana charities, Nikki had this to say:
“I was beyond ecstatic for him to contribute. Despite what people may think, it shows how much he really does care. I believe what he’s done is helping gain the traction we need to help fix the damage done in Louisiana.”
However, there is still work to be done. Not only is Louisiana in need of aid, the aid that is coming in will stop if we stop pushing awareness.
The media dropped the ball here. We do not have the same coverage as Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, and Maria did. Unfortunately, we are not headliners with all that’s going on in our nation, and without awareness, people will just assume that all is well when right now Lake Charles and the surrounding areas are worse off than some developing world countries.
Damn Elon coming through ✨♥️🔥 https://t.co/74NxCj9M8a
— Kia “Viral Pangolin” 🙃 (@whodreamedit) September 2, 2020
“However, more can be done with the help of the media. The story of Hurricane Laura’s effect was drowned out by politics in the news cycle, and it’s dishearteningly what the media can do is help spread awareness. Some mainstream media are writing articles, but the pictures and clips of videos don’t do it justice. We need correspondents to come out and do real stories. We need them to share the stories of the people who have been hurt to make people aware of the current state of the region and how many people’s livelihoods have been stripped away and how their lives will be changed forever. We need the same coverage Katrina, Harvey, and Maria got because the damage from Laura is comparable to those storms. We also need the media to share how people can help contribute,” Nikki said.
Elon Musk & Musk Foundation Help Victims Impacted by Hurricane Laurahttps://t.co/dPSTm313zR
— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) September 2, 2020
Nikki, like me, was tweeting because she wanted to make an impact. “I hate to see people hurting. I’m always vocal about issues going on in the world, and I care about all humans. As we’ve seen with so many movements, power is with the people. To have a movement, you need power in numbers. I will always be there to stand with my comrades to make sure people are taken care of.”
Louisiana is our home, and seeing people in our home hurting inspired both of us as well as others to take to Twitter in hopes that we could spread awareness. This is why I’m writing this article. To spread hope. Please join in the effort to help.
How Elon Musk Pitched In And Helped
We appreciate the charitable gift from @elonmusk and the @MuskFoundation to help La. recover from Hurricane Laura. Please consider joining forces and donating at https://t.co/ipzfGJEii9 to help residents of SWLA!
— BR Area Foundation (@BRFdn) September 1, 2020
Here in Louisiana, Lafayette’s own mayor-president, Josh Guillory, is refusing to open the Cajun Dome as a hurricane shelter. It’s so messed up that in the face of our neighboring city’s most dire need, we have selfish politicians supposedly worried about Black Lives Matter protestors and assuming that all of the evacuees are rioters who will take advantage of our hospitality. The stereotype that protestors are rioters is an excuse that those who believe that Black lives don’t matter have used to make themselves feel better, in my opinion.
This is the typical extreme far-right Republican view of those in need, and it seems that it isn’t just foreign refugees, but even our own American citizens when going through disaster. I was livid when I read that. How can you call yourself Christian while turning your back on people like this?
Our group spammed hard on Twitter — I’m surprised my account isn’t shadowbanned. After selling some jewelry online, I had to make a trip to the post office to ship it yesterday. I was waiting on my Uber to go back home when I overheard a conversation between three people. Two women were from Lake Charles and they had lost everything.
It reminded me to get back on Twitter while I waited for 15 minutes on my Uber. Time to spam again. But the first tweet I saw was this.
We greatly appreciate the support of @elonmusk and the @MuskFoundation at this critical time. Please consider following suit and donating. We could not do this without the help of others. ⚜⚓#CajunNavy #CajunNavyRelief #ElonMusk #NeighborsHelpingNeighbors #LookForTheHelpers
— CajunNavyRelief (@CajunNavyRelief) September 1, 2020
I immediately said “OMG!” loudly and all heads turned. So I showed everyone the tweet and said that Elon Musk had just donated to the Cajun Navy, a household name around here, to help with hurricane relief. Tears flowed and people clapped. Suddenly, Lake Charles and SWLA weren’t so alone anymore. Suddenly, there was hope — hope that people not only cared, but didn’t forget us.
Louisiana is often forgotten, but people are remembering us right now. It’s not just Elon Musk — some other organizations are helping and pitching in, too.
Hot, chef-prepared lunch being served today in #LakeCharles. On the menu is delicious baked ziti, a fresh salad, breadstick and a banana paired with a COLD water bottle.
Meals being served at Life United Church (1800 East College St. Lake Charles, LA 70607) pic.twitter.com/E0BX2IsuWZ
— Mercy Chefs, Inc. (@MercyChefs) September 2, 2020
The Tide Loads of Hope teams are on their way to areas affected by the recent hurricanes. They’ll be helping from 10:00am-3pm at the Walmart located at 3451 Nelson Rd, Lake Charles, LA 70605. Please follow the truck on Twitter https://t.co/KU2FSVuATW for up-to-date information.
— Tide (@tide) September 2, 2020
We are grateful for the support of @elonmusk and the @MuskFoundation for SBP’s #HurricaneLaura response. Please consider supporting Laura-impacted families. Click to donate: https://t.co/hwpUsSStEp pic.twitter.com/0biup9XK6E
— SBP (@SBPUSA) September 1, 2020
Despite the chaos, there is hope. However, to keep hope alive, we really need help promoting awareness for the needs of the people of this beautiful state. I’ve seen comments saying, “Well, you shouldn’t have voted for Trump,” or, “You’re a red state.” I will address these now.
I didn’t vote for Trump. Our governor is a Democrat. Red and blue are just colors. We are Americans and are more than just red and blue. And right now, Americans are in need. I don’t like Trump and won’t vote for him — but we need to put our politics aside and spread love and hope. It’s not about Trump. It’s about the people of Louisiana who don’t have power, who won’t have power probably until October, and note that autumn doesn’t usually start in Louisiana until late October, so it is hot and remain hot.
Add into the mix that some are just now getting running water, while others are saying they won’t have water for weeks. You can find information like this in the Lake Charles feed on Twitter — just do a search for Lake Charles. You’ll see the stories I’ve seen. We need help, not hate.
How You Can Help
If you are tight on funds, you can take to social media and help spread awareness. I’ve been using these hashtags: #LakeCharles #HelpLouisiana #HelpLakeCharles #LouisianaStrong #SWLA #SWLAstrong #LakeCharlesStrong
If you are a writer, blogger, or someone in the media, reblog this article. We need awareness and aid.
Elon Musk, if you are reading this, you’ve probably seen some of my million tweets thanking you. I just wanted to say thank you again for stepping up and helping me help my state.
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