baton rouge · faith · grace · life · louisiana

high time.

There is a time for everything…

Friday Aug 12, 10:49 am

S: Everyone ok?!!

L: I am!

S: Luckily never went into work today so I don’t know how bad the roads are…listening to the news they are making it seem super dangerous to be on the roads.

L: State offices closed AFTER I got to work. Drove home and it was fine. Now calling for record flooding down at the camp so should be headed down there soon.

S: Oh no Lizzie! Do y’all need my help with anything?…I have absolutely nothing to do!

C: If anyone is bored later and the roads in our area are safe, would love to host you for a glass of vino!

Friday, August 12, 7:18 pm

C: Our school is about to flood. Ty and Blocker headed there with sandbags.

L: Oh no!

S: OMG Claire! This weather is so crazy!

Me: can we do anything? want me to send Kurt?

C: 2-5 am is supposed to be bad…we are looking for sandbags and a boat to get them in. If Kurt has access to either then yes!

Me: We have a shovel and gloves!…are ya’ll stuck in your house?

C: We are good at the house but trying to save the school!

Saturday 7:59 am

Me: Everyone ok? Lizzie? Sadie make it home safe?

C: Yes! School is protected. Boys got home at 11. Y’all come to class today if you can!

Me: How are the roads from Jefferson Terrace to SOAC? You know I drive a go cart.

C:I think totally fine from what I am hearing!

10:33 am

S: We are packing up our house now…probably gonna flood…we have a pond that is an overflow from the Amite River in our back yard.

C: Send me address…we will come help…y’all are welcome to stay with me! I’m bringing you some lunch!

L: Oh Sadie, I just went down Antioch and saw the water in that ditch. It’s bad. We passed the Amite on the way to the camp…I’ve never seen it that high.

C: Sadie, the standing water is higher than my car can handle…I really want to help you!!!

S: The front of the neighborhood is under water…we are trying to hurry up so we can still have time to get out the back way.

Sunday 9:43 am

C: No power, no wifi, no ATT…trying to help Ty’s parents get rescued.

L: We’ve been rescuing since 2:30 am…We rescued Aaron’s sister and about 100 people out of Sherwood Forest.

C: They can’t get anyone…it’s bad

Me: I found some guys with a boat! We are on our way!

C: Thank you. It’s urgent…water is rising….there are many needing to be rescued where they are.

At this point I’m driving up and down Airline looking for boats. I realized gas stations were  the hot spot…they eventually had to fill up and as they pulled in I begged them to go to the address and get Ty’s parents and anyone else in the area.

Monday, 11:25 am

C: We have POWER! Lizzie…how are you? your properties?

L: Our house is good as is our camp for now! Praise Jesus! We were praying for our camp because it will house a big family until they can rebuild.

7:25 pm

L: Camp is under water…Aaron is devastated….my stomach is in knots. I know that God has a grand plan.

S: We will do whatever we can Lizzie, we will get through all this together!

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Sadie and Lizzie outside Sadie’s house.

 

 

Together.

In case you haven’t heard…there was a surprise, blind-siding gush of water fall upon Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 

and a season for every activity under heaven

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.

A time to kill…and a time to heal

Just weeks before the sky decided to empty its contents, Baton Rouge was receiving national coverage for racial issues. A black man was shot by a white cop…3 white cops were shot by a black man…it was ugly and I remember never feeling so white in my life! I was afraid, but at the same time disgusted that in 2016 I was living amongst such animosity over skin color. I was ashamed and saddened and wondered if this issue would ever end in my lifetime or if it would continue to unmask it’s ugly head in the form of cowards who choose to feast on division.

I prayed for this city.

I prayed for protection and peace and healing.

Flash forward a few weeks and it didn’t matter what color you were after the murky waters rose…suddenly skin color was the least important thing in town. The hierarchy at this point were boat owners. Yes, if you owned a boat you were royalty…it didn’t matter the make or model of your truck, the condition of your boat or the color of your skin…this was about survival and suddenly everyone was just flesh and blood and bone and scared.

Waters came and went but the infliction was heartbreaking.

A time to tear down and a time to build 

Together we helped friends clean out the damage of flood waters and prepare to rebuild. A lifetime of items were tossed to the curb…treasured possessions were now soiled and smelly garbage. Streets were lined with mountains of furniture, appliances, toys, pots, pans, clothes…memories on top of memories on top of evidence that something unexpected swept in and caused destruction.

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street after street lined with all the soggy contents of houses swept to the curb
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photos can’t capture the scent…the stench

 

I was on my way to a friend’s house that had been completely flooded when I saw him standing outside, hands on his hips, taking in the 6 foot-plus pile of life and legacy before him. I think I pulled over and got out of my car because there was absolutely no way my heart could not.

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Hello. I’m so sorry.

We’ve lived here 37 years and nothing…no, nothing…has ever happened like this before.

I’m so sorry…

With the sweetest smile on his face he recounted the events to me and permitted me to take some photos…

We had our grandkids here from Austin…ages 8 and 10. The water began to rush in and we knew we had to get out. 

I stood beside the years of what once sat inside the now flooded house.

“We were at home fat, dumb and happy and the next thing we knew we were in a raft floating to the Dollar General waiting to be rescued.”

He choked back tears as he told me he retired 11 years ago. He choked back tears when he paused to say the greatest loss were the photographs…photos from his 53 year strong marriage…photos of trips taken…children born…all gone…

He didn’t choke back a smile when his wife joined us.

1258This is going to be tough but they will be okay.

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A time to weep and a time to laugh

a time to mourn and a time to dance

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them

a time to embrace and a time to refrain

a time to search and a time to give up

a time to keep and a time to throw away

a time to tear and a time to mend

a time to be silent and a time to speak….

The US Census Bureau ranked Louisiana the second worst state for poverty rates in the country…I’ve witnessed something beyond rich this past week. A community wealthy in love and service and sacrifice. This won’t be recorded in statistics or national averages but I can record it in my blog….so I did. I pray this is the catalyst to seeing beyond our differences and joining forces to contribute to a heritage that will bless those who follow us. I don’t know, but I’d like to think the innocent lives that fell due to discrimination are looking over this city and smiling…as if they know love wins…everytime.

a time for love and a time for hate

a time for war and a time for peace.

I think you know what time it is.

It’s high time we all get along.

love gina

Continue reading “high time.”

louisiana · mardi gras · photography

m a r d i g r a s – i n g

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9618Last Saturday we decided to go immerse this Texas born and bred gal in the beaded streets of New Orleans. It’s a rite of passage here in Louisiana if you plan to stick around and call yourself a local…so off we went…I’m claiming my sense of belonging one festivity at a time.

Mardi Gras…you’re up!

The only thing I knew of this yearly celebration was that Mardi Gras is french for Fat Tuesday…which ends and the season of Lent begins…which lasts 40 days and participants give up something.  Oh…and boobies and parades.

I text my 225 squad for some pointers and their responses were…

“Have fun… Protect your face from getting pelted with beads… Don’t show your boobs for beads.”

I laughed… good advice. 9458

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The gods of endymion smiled upon us the entire time. We scored a spot in a parking garage right smack dab in the middle of it all which eliminated the expected hike.

My camera was the catalyst for making some festive new friends…

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These friends led to Kurt scoring a beer9509…which led to bumping into a group that offered great conversation and insight into the history of New Orleans.

This is where it gets even sweeter.  We take a stroll down St. Charles Ave and happen upon Marcello’s…looks like a decent place to find a lavatory and enjoy a glass of pinot.

While squeezed in at the end of the bar a gentleman came up beside me and poured himself a glass of red wine.

“Oh, is it open bar?”

“No, it is not…I tried that once…charged $25 a head and lost money.”

“You. You tried that. So I guess this is your restaurant.”

“Yes.”

“Hello. I’m Gina.”

“Hello Gina….I’m Gino.”

He walks away and Kurt says…

Ask and see if he might allow us up on the balcony to watch the parade.

…in which I do…and he replies…

“I’m sorry, the balcony is a private party rented out by Jim Beam.”

Ohhhhh. fancy.

I retreat back to my bar stool only to have him come fetch me two minutes later.

“Come with me. I’m going to take you up there but if anyone asks you to leave you don’t argue. You just leave.”

Yes sir, Gino…

He tells the security officer…”They’re with me.”

Yes. We. Are.

We’re golden. We’re in. We have the best view. We are across from the DJ.

We are in Mardi Gras heaven….

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Directly in front of us were local high school bands putting on a serious show…they had an audience and they were showing off…big time…I would buy tickets to their performance and here I am front row, close enough to touch, hanging out on the balcony of Marcello’s with the Who’s Who Diddly Do’s of Jim Beam… with my man…draped in colorful beads…surrounded by happy people of all ages.  I like you, Mardi Gras.

Happy People make me happy.

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For all the Mardi Gras maidens afraid of what you might be exposed to if you ever decide to brave the scenery, let me tell you…there is more than one way to appreciate this tradition. Just like anything, you can make it as clean or dirty as you want.  I like my martinis dirty and my Mardi Gras clean.

Here’s how to keep it that way:

  • Stay up town for the PG-13 version
  • Have fun but be aware of your surroundings
  • You can bring your kids but PLEASE keep them with you and pay attention. There is an ENORMOUS crowd. I saw families with all their kids in tow…I would not have brought my girls when they were young but that’s just me…I’m the mom who sanitized my kids after every ride at Six Flags
  • and on that note…bring hand sanitizer
  • bring water
  • bring a bag to tote your beads
  • be friendly
  • enjoy the experience
  • appreciate the amount of effort that this city puts into maintaining a tradition that began in the 1730’s
  • Don’t drink and drive. Download Uber or Lyft and use if need be.

And if you must go take a peek down Bourbon Street, please don’t go alone…

love gina

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***all images are original and were taken by me! Credit appreciated if you care to use them. THANKS!