It was August 29th, incredibly the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, when Hurricane Ida came ashore at Port Fouchon, LA with sustained winds of 150mph. Once again and for the fourth time in just over a year, Louisiana residents would have lives changed for a very long time, if not forever. Widescale destruction came to places with names like Grand Isle, Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, St. Charles Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, Laplace, St. James Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, Lafitte, Barataria, Irondale, Myrtle Grove and lower Plaquemines Parish as well as parts of New Orleans and my community in St. Tammany Parish. Homes destroyed, severely damaged, some lives lost and very long periods without electricity, water and gasoline. Yet at the same time, it has now been 30 days with incredible acts of charity, generosity and love from neighbor helping neighbor, families banding together, churches stepping up big time and various forms of social service coming to the aid of so many. And with over 1 million homes and businesses without power, today that number is below 10,000. Linemen from across the nation came in to help us. Crews from across the country arrived ready to tarp roofs and muck out houses. Debris and garbage crews can hardly keep up. And incredibly most, not all, schools are back teaching. There is a resilient spirit here, a never say die or give up attitude, yet the work post hurricane is exhausting. In some cases, very exhausting, both physically and mentally.
Louisiana has actually been hit by 7 named storms since June of 2020; not all very strong, but 4 that were huge impactful hurricanes. We have had our fair share of dangerous foul weather. And still we stand!
We have a huge devotion in southeast Louisiana to Mary under the title Our Lady of Prompt Succor; this dates back to the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Every year, from June through November, the churches of the dioceses of south Louisiana invoke her motherly intercession and protection. And yes, even when the storms come, we feel her powerful help.
For many, the days of fall the coming holidays will still be a time of rebuilding and recovery. Think of these good people often and include them in your prayers. We will persevere, with the help of God. But please forgive us if we beg God for a break from inclement weather, particularly hurricanes.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.