Louisiana: At Work in the Heart of the Crisis

August 23, 2016 • United States
Minnie Mae received help after the flooding from her new Samaritan's Purse friends.
Minnie Mae received help after the flooding from her new Samaritan's Purse friends.

Volunteers, politicians, pastors and TV personalities respond to needs in flooded Baton Rouge

Volunteer in Louisiana

Never in 92 years had Minnie Mae Jones seen so much rain. Nonetheless, she carried on with her morning. She ate her cereal, sipped her coffee, and read the paper. She even made her bed.

The water kept rising.

“I went to the front yard and there was water,” she recalls. “And then I went to the backyard and there was water. And that was when I knew it was coming in from both sides.”

Eventually she was evacuated from her Central, Louisiana, neighborhood by truck. Then she was evacuated by boat from the school where they had taken her.

In the 59 years she lived in the house, she never dreamed it would flood, because it never had before. In fact, a majority of homeowners we spoke with had never purchased flood insurance, because they weren’t in a flood plain and hadn’t feared such a disaster for decades.

Elderly woman stands with volunteers in her gutted home. post-flooding Baton Rouge homeowner, widow, grandmother

Minnie Mae plans to one day return to her home.

“I just never dreamed that water was going to be in the house ever,” said Minnie Mae, who lost her husband to a heart attack only weeks after they paid off the property back in the 1978.

Now the widow, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother faces a life ahead without the many artifacts she collected over decades. But with the help of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers who cleaned out debris, removed wet floors and walls, and sprayed for mold, Minnie Mae will eventually move back into the home she and her husband built in 1957.

“I just don’t have words it’s so wonderful,” said Minnie Mae, describing the help of volunteers who arrived only a few days ago. “Without all this help I don’t if I would have ever moved back in, but now they’re going to fix my house and I can move back in.”

“I just don’t have words it’s so wonderful.”

Minnie Mae joined Samaritan’s Purse volunteers for dinner Monday evening at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church—our host church—where Fox News personality Sean Hannity shared her story and asked for help from viewers. She told Hannity, smiling, “I’m too old for this.”

Hannity Applauds Volunteers, Many Still Needed

Sean Hannity interviews Minnie Mae at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church.

Sean Hannity interviews Minnie Mae at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church.

“This is not going to end next week, next month, or next year, but what you all are doing is showing people that you have hearts,” Hannity told volunteers before he filmed his program. “You are representing what I think Jesus talked about, so thank you all for what you do.”

We have received 840 work orders in the Baton Rouge area with more expected in the coming days and weeks. In addition to our work around there, we also have a base in Lafayette. Already more than 250 volunteers have answered the call to assist the residents of Louisiana, many more are needed to help during the long cleanup ahead.

Franklin Graham Encourages Homeowners After Flood

“Samaritan’s Purse was like the cavalry coming over the horizon as they were coming into our community,” said Tony Perkins, interim pastor of Greenwell Springs Baptist Church. “They are making a huge difference in this community. Within 48 hours, they were set up in our parking lot, and I’m very grateful for the outstanding work of Samaritan’s Purse.”

Please continue to pray for the people of Louisiana and our disaster relief response teams.

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27, NKJV).

To read more on the general work of our volunteers in Louisiana, check out this article.