All These Weeks After Hurricane Laura

Pierre Fontenot Thursday, November 19, 2020 Comments Off on All These Weeks After Hurricane Laura
All These Weeks After Hurricane Laura

What I can’t get over is how ugly it still is, all these weeks after Hurricane Laura. What a hurricane could do in one night, my goodness, those that see what I see, just shake your head along with me…

You can drive on a main drag, an important street, that people who know people who know people who can get things done, and even for them, if you just drove up, never seeing any of the before, you’d assume the hurricane was day before yesterday.

That kind of ugly.

If there was a financial incentive, if you were paying someone big money, to make their homes, yards, streets, this ugly, there ain’t enough money.

Even the ones that might fall for money, they’d never be willing to do the bad work, of demolishing a roof, bending metal in half, chopping up trees, piling up the gunk that used to be sheetrock… nope, ain’t gonna happen.

If you get off the fancy roads, where nobody important lives, and go off where not one pass has been made by the debris trucks, O, it’s a sight that you’re not supposed to see in America. We always had a subscription to National Geographic in my childhood home. I remember my mother often making little sounds of caring, “Those poor people,” she’d say. If someone from afar could see what I saw today, in what millionth guess would they finally guess “…somewhere in America?”

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It was cooler today.  We’re out of the regular hurricane names.  We’re at the end of the Greek names now.

We just had a decade’s worth of hurricanes, in one season.

I drove a lot today. To stay anywhere, was to stay with ugly. But where to go? There’s no escape from ugly. 

So I told myself to quit looking at stuff and start thinking about people.

Any given street, any given neighborhood, the ditches are filled with tree parts. Both sides, like homeowners were beavers, building a levee of lumber. Limbs, chopped up trunks, these didn’t get here by paying someone. Not these houses. One little bit at a time, the homeowner made a fallen tree smaller, got it from where it was, to where it is, grab it and pull, all day, and the next day, and the next week…

I do like my people.

Early on, there was some whining, “Where was the national media?!?” because when it’s big to you, it’s not asking too much for a little respect, for what you’re going through. 

But the whining wasn’t by the many, and it didn’t last long.

If you’re from around here, you come from something solid. I’m not saying it’s only here, but it’s plenty here. 

Not a lot of silver spoons ‘round here. And even if they come from money, it’s fairly recent, earned money, and in those families there’s a story, about the ole man that went from nothing to something by a bunch of good character traits, foremost being someone who out-toughed their tough times.

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One thing about these hurricanes, they tell the truth, about who we are.

A hurricane is like an ambush, it against all of us, and of course it wins, because it’s way big, and way bad, but a hurricane has a weakness – it doesn’t last.

Off it goes, and there we are, still us. 

And that’s when we begin revealing our truth.

There’s a whole lot of unimpressive going on, for sure, but there’s also something that we have saved up, inside us, an inheritance, from our ancestors who went through their storms, and here it comes, like watering a dry plant.

My quote of the day was a man I have great respect for, “Around here we have a saying, ‘One day, one duck.’”

“What’s that mean?”

“Get a duck, get it in a row.” Fifty days later, fifty ducks. Some days big ducks, some days not much to quack about, but that’s my Louisiana, southwest corner. Little by little, steady by steady, tough, tough, tough.

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is dedicated to my people. If ever there’s a hell in a hand basket crisis, this here, these people, they’ll make it, somehow.

Uncle P can be reached at

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