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Lake Charles
screenshot taken from Mayor Nic's FB video

Climate Change

Lake Charles Is In Humanitarian Crisis, While Media Has Moved On

Hurricane Laura became the deadly storm it was due to the extremely warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Before Hurricane Marco fell apart, it was expected that Laura would be no larger than a Category 2 hurricane at the most.

Hurricane Laura became the deadly storm it was due to the extremely warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Before Hurricane Marco fell apart, it was expected that Laura would be no larger than a Category 2 hurricane at the most. It hit Louisiana almost as a Category 5 hurricane (wind speed was just 7 mph shy of that category). The warm waters are especially warm due to climate change, due to an ever-warming planet. This storm was the 5th strongest to hit Louisiana.

In a heartfelt Facebook video, Mayor Hunter shared his thoughts on the devastation of his city and the lack of the national media’s coverage. In fact, he shares the story of how an unnamed mainstream media outlet correspondent sent him a text saying that he wasn’t needed when he’d been scheduled to talk about the hurricane and its aftermath in Lake Charles.

In the background, you can see the building that was initially the face of the devastation of Hurricane Laura. The Capital One building looks like Swiss cheese, noted Mayor Nic. He pointed out that there are so many people from around the country that are helping Lake Charles and that he didn’t want what he was about to say to diminish that.

I agree with him that this needs to be addressed. I, too, find it odd that the national media is unconcerned with the plight of the people in the southwest portion of my state. It’s as if victims of natural disasters have to compete for media coverage — the same way women do in the beauty pageants that our president has owned. In essence, America has turned into its own reality show, where the competitors are the people who need help. 

Mayor Nic spoke of the amazing humanity that has helped Lake Charles and pointed out the progress — blue tarps going on roofs, despite the devastation. However, the media has been not only silent but dismissive towards Mayor Nic. 

“The devastation and this catastrophe is really widespread. It’s the whole city of Lake Charles and that’s why it’s kind of frustrating right now to understand or hear that the national media is just not covering what’s going on here in Lake Charles.” Mayor Nic shared a story of how the media dismissed him. “The night after the storm, I was on a national media outlet speaking with a pretty popular correspondent. The next day, I was scheduled to do the same thing, but then I got a text saying ‘Hey, thanks, but not needed.'”

Mayor Nic said that he assumed that they perhaps spoke to someone else — perhaps more important than the mayor of the city affected — someone like law enforcement, a pastor, someone who knows what’s going on. He gave them the benefit of the doubt. After speaking to his uncle in Florida who saw the show the mayor was supposed to appear on, what his uncle shared was disappointing: not only was Mayor Nic not on the news, but no one from Lake Charles was on the news.

The media found something else to occupy its time with, something more important than a natural disaster leaving thousands without shelter, power, and water during one of the hottest years on record. Louisiana summers are not for the faint of heart in general, but it’s especially hot. We have a heat index here that makes temperatures in the high ’90s feel like the mid 100s to 110s.

Mayor Nic has a message for the average American who may see his Facebook video. “Please don’t forget about us.” He reminds us that while those affected are resilient citizens of Louisiana, the people of Lake Charles are Americans, too. “Even though the national media won’t cover it, the struggle and the pain of what a lot of locals are going through is very real to them.”

He ends the video by saying that, “If the national media won’t remember, I’m hoping that Americans will remember what’s going on here in Lake Charles.”

My Experience

I am not in Lake Charles, but as a writer for CleanTechnica, I’m doing my part. Our state is really, really bad off right now. Despite the donations pouring in, despite the love and support from people all around the world, despite the help of the Tesla community that has been helping me by sharing all of my #LakeCharles and #SWLA tweets, I feel as if I am yelling into empty space.

I know it’s not empty and I know I’m being heard, but those who have the power to do something are choosing to ignore our cries. I refuse to be ignored. This is why I am writing. I’m writing loudly because right now, there are people who can’t. They don’t have electricity — how in the world can they get online? I know, I’ve written this before, but the fact remains: We have a humanitarian crisis in Louisiana and no one is talking about it

When the Cajun Navy and the BR Foundation tweeted their thanks to Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation for donating funds, I thought that for sure the media would pick up on that. Especially the Tesla reporters. I even tagged a few of them. But it was ignored. Russ Mitchell wrote back and shared a charity that he supported. It’s great that people give to charities in their community, but Elon Musk spending money is often in the news. I thought for sure that someone would jump on that — even though it was a positive thing, not a negative thing.

I had hoped that some could put aside their bias for people they don’t like, and help raise the voices of so many who have been silenced by the lack of media coverage.

How You Can Help

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.


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Written By

Johnna Crider is a Louisiana native who likes crawfish, gems, minerals, EVs, and advocates for sustainability. Johnna is also the host of GettingStoned.online, a jewelry artisan and a $TSLA shareholder.

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