Last week, Louisianians were hit with what meteorologists dubbed a ‘1,000-year’ flood. Tragic displays of people losing their homes, death tolls, images of destruction, and general chaos dominated mainstream media. However, when the rain stopped — so did the media’s coverage.
Prior to the media descending into the Cajun heartland to catch drive-by scenes of death and destruction, they were here to stoke further divide after three officers were tragically gunned down. Before that, the mainstream media were here stoking divide, using the tragic killing of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge cops as their fodder.
When there was no more hate to propagate in a community reeling from three back to back tragedies, and the media couldn’t find anyone to blame, the talking heads rolled up their cords, got into their vans, and headed to the next disaster.
Meanwhile, amazing things were happening in Southern Louisiana which most certainly deserved media coverage — yet no one was around.
Some homes are still underwater. But that did not stop people from banding together and helping everyone out. Those who did not flood helped those who did — race and political beliefs did not matter. Nor did anyone sit around and wait for the government to rush in to rescue them.
The lack of positive media coverage has sparked a firestorm of outrage by people who’ve had unwanted cameras shoved in their faces during several weeks of hard times. And, one Baton Rouge attorney, in particular, wrote a scathing open letter to the mainstream media in response.
The letter, posted to Facebook by Heather Cross this week, has quickly gone viral. Cross addresses all media outlets in her opener.
Dear CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, Good Morning America, the Today Show and whatever other news organizations professing to employ people who refer to themselves as Journalists:
In the first part of the letter, Cross noted how the media was all over the controversial events, but failed to provide anything of value.
You’ve met us before. You came and camped out over here during a very painful period in our existence about a month ago. You went into a neighborhood you’ve never been in, in a state it’s quite possible that you’ve never visited (despite that you are “very well-travelled”). Although, I realize you are sophisticated, and accepting of “other” cultures, you managed to pass judgment on an entire community in your own country, who were mourning and struggling to figure out – what the hell just happened – and where do we go from here – all of us (well most of us) – in good faith. You didn’t offer help, you didn’t offer support, you offered criticism – and then you left.
Oh you came back, a few weeks later, a lunatic, who also had never been here, showed up and murdered three of our finest citizens. In broad daylight. In the middle of town. You came back. With more criticism. More speculation. More side taking. When in the community I live, we were basically all on the same side. We’re all in this together. I hate to pull a hashtag, but seriously#unBRoken.
Cross went on to further explain how the people, without permission from the state, nor help from the state, began rescuing their neighbors and helping each other.
While it was still raining, a spontaneous, private, and well-meaning navy of ordinary people assembled themselves. They were black, white, Asian and otherwise. They weren’t protesting anything. They got into their own boats, spent their own money, spent their own time, risked their own lives. Black people saved white people. White people saved black people. Nobody asked what color you were before knocking on your door. These are not first responders on some list somewhere. These are a bunch of guys who like to hunt and fish and as a result own flat bottom boats and they assumed that the actual police and other first responders, not to mention their fellow citizens – could use a little help. So they just showed up. Nobody told them to. They wanted to.
Meanwhile, across town, a spontaneous, private and well-meaning army of ordinary people assembled themselves in a 7 warehouse, un-airconditioned sound stage. (And FYI, it’s REALLY hot in August in Louisiana). They found some fans. And they had plenty of room. They gathered canned goods, bottled water, Gatorade, Neosporin, BandAids, Toothbrushes, deodorant, hairspray, sleeping bags, chairs and pillows. They set up kitchens with their tailgating party supplies. Nobody told them to. They just did it. Why? All because people who just lost everything about a half hour ago, got plucked off of their rooftops in helicopters and this army knew that they needed somewhere to go, and something to eat. Pretty much instinctively.
Not one word about the community coming together to help each other was broadcast on FOXSNBCNN.
There are tens of thousands of houses across the state which now look like the one in the image below, taken a few miles from my home, and people are still helping others. However, it will take a lot of money to get things back in order — a lot of money that the people of Louisiana do not have.
Because this level of rain was unprecedented, houses that have been here for decades and have never flooded, actually got water. Because these houses, under normal conditions, are not labeled as being in a flood zone, many of these folks never saw the need for flood insurance. As a result, most of the houses that flooded will not be covered by their homeowner insurance plans — leaving them completely and utterly devastated.
Mainstream media coverage on this catastrophic anomaly could really help out the people who have nowhere to go by garnering national attention, thus garnering monetary support from private donors. But that didn’t happen. As Cross points out:
I suppose a bunch of self-sufficient folks that actually love one another, and are trying to figure things out isn’t as interesting to you as casting gross stereotypes over people who live fly-over country. But we are a little bit baffled after all that unwanted attention we got a few weeks back, when we actually need you to get the word out, you are nowhere to be found.
Now, as easily distracted Americans flip to the next channel , the hard work of the good folks of Louisiana continues — with or without the mainstream media.
As Cross points out at the end of her letter:
Come hell or high water, we’re not going anywhere. You’re welcome to visit anytime. We promise, no matter what, we will love you anyway, we will always send rescue, and we will always find a way to make you smile. And after all that we will, most definitely, feed you.
Below is the Cross’ beautifully written letter in its entirety. Amazingly and predictably enough, after this letter went viral, both Donald Trump and Barack Obama scheduled visits.