One year after the Great Flood, Louisiana’s most vulnerable cope with the losses

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

The summertime rain that usually pounds Louisiana in fits and starts had been falling for a day and through the night when Shantel Smith’s phone rang. “My oldest sister called screaming, ‘I’m flooding out, I’m flooding out,’” she said. “Then the phone went dead.” Smith and her son, her sisters and their kids, and her mother and grandmother had moved to Baton Rouge from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina flooding upended their lives. Family history was about to repeat.

Smith and a brother-in-law drove a pickup through flooded streets to help. “Every street we went down, as close as we could get to the home, there was water,” Smith said. Her family would survive, but by nightfall, all four