Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas in Southern Louisiana

Having lived in the eastern part of Texas for so long, we’ve known so many people who were originally from Louisiana. In particular, we’ve known a lot of folks from New Orleans and small towns in southern Louisiana. Our family used to go to Louisiana for long weekends. And many evacuees came to our part of Texas after Katrina. As a result of these experiences, I have a special love and affinity for Louisianans, and have been devastated by what they have gone through since the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion last April.

Recently, I heard a really heart-breaking news story about the disaster’s economic impact to the local fishing industry in southern Louisiana. Interviewees spoke about the toll the economic situation had taken on their families. People had lost their homes, couples had broken up, children were stressed about such losses and the continuing uncertainty in their lives. You can read the story at the link below:

For more background, the following blog is dedicated to documenting the damage from the oil spill, and contains a tremendous amount of information:

My heart really breaks for the families in southern Louisiana. That region is not an area of affluence in the best of times. But in recent years, it has been hit hard by hurricanes, and now the local economy has been decimated by a new double whammy. The oil spill contamination in the waters has hurt the fishing industry, and frankly may impact it for generations. And the offshore exploration and development activities that have also been an important part of the region’s economy have been hit by the halt in petroleum industry activity in the wake of the BP disaster.

I wanted to make a donation to help provide relief for the people in that region, but when I did some research on the internet, it was surprisingly hard. Most relief efforts in the wake of the oil spill seem to have focused on the non-human animals harmed by ecological disaster. I love birds, fish and reptiles, but I love human beings more. From what I found in my research, there has not been a lot of humanitarian focus on the people suffering in the wake of the BP disaster.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, however, is the primary food bank serving the region in Louisiana most impacted by the oil spill. Their website is available at the link below. It contains information about the group’s efforts to assist people impacted by the repercussions of the oil spill, as well as information about how one can contribute to their efforts.

Matthew 25: 34-40 (New King James Version)

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

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