It’s been a long six months for Livingston Parish.
Yes, it’s only been six months since the Great Flood of 2016. For many, it seems more like 10 years.
Many stories come and go over the course of a half-year, but in the case of the flood that devastated Livingston Parish and surrounding areas, it’s a story as fresh as it was Aug. 11, 2016.
Residents here and in neighboring parishes have endured months of pain and despair. Many lost everything they owned and watched the memories piled at the curb – everything from family photos to lifelong heirlooms.
They heard for weeks that they could not rebuild or that they should wait for approval from FEMA. It hasn’t stopped them.
Residents have gradually made their comeback. Some have completed the process of rebuilding, while others are well on their way.
We still hear some chose to pack up what they could salvage and start over elsewhere – definitely not a surprise.
Businesses have also returned and others are set to reopen by early spring.
Schools have weathered the storm perhaps more diligently than any group or entity in Livingston Parish. They had the task not only to remain intact, but to provide continuity to the thousands of students in the system.
We rightfully feared the worst in the days after the flood. The sight of busy thoroughfares immersed in several feet of water brings strong feelings of gloom and despair.
It did not stop our residents, businesses and community leaders from rolling up their sleeves and moving forward. The word “resilience” has become commonplace in descriptions of how our parish has pulled itself together after the flood.
We cannot give the accolades to one individual or entity. From our governmental and civic leaders, to the faith-based communities and friends from areas all across America, we have demonstrated perhaps like never before how strong will and determination can pull us from the depths of despair and bring us on a path of new prosperity.
The hard work over the last six months has been evident in every walk of life here in Livingston Parish.
We must remember, however, that we still have a long road ahead over the months and years to come. But if we continue with the same faith and determination that carried us through the first six months, a bright future will lie ahead for Livingston Parish.