New Orleans Man's Letter To Baton Rouge Goes Viral In Wake Of Flooding

by Maria Guido

Man writes letter to residents of Lousiana after deadly storm leaves 10,000 in shelters

A deadly storm has wreaked havoc in Louisiana, where more than 20,000 people needed to be rescued and at least six were killed. Ten thousand people are in shelters.

Some areas received over 25 inches of rain since Friday, when when Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency. Rescue efforts are in full force, and terrifying and heartbreaking anecdotes are pouring in all over the web.

“About 37,000 utility customers — 9,000 of whom are under water — are without power and thousands of AT&T cell phones aren’t working because a substation on Choctaw Drive in Baton Rouge flooded,” reported The Advocate.

In the midst of all the stories of destruction, one man’s letter of hope is going viral. James O’Byrne — a resident of New Orleans — wrote a letter to his neighbors in Baton Rouge, to let them know he understands what they are going through, and his city will be there to help.

“So much hardship ahead,” O’Byrne writes in his letter. “You don’t have to tell us what it’s like. We know.”

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and left most of the city under water. “We want you to know, New Orleans remembers what you did for us. And we’re coming,” he writes.

“But in the midst of the heartache, there’s so much work to be done. Flooded belongings to be dragged to the curb. Sheetrock to be ripped out and replaced. Belongings to be sorted, and salvaged wherever possible,” words that can only come from someone who has been there and truly knows what it’s like to have your so much of your life literally washed away.

“We remember 2005. You took us in. Held our hands. Gave us shelter. Fed us. You were endlessly kind and generous,” he writes. “We clogged your highways, filled your schools, overran your favorite restaurants. Bought all your liquor. And we stayed for months. And if you ever complained, you did so softly, and to yourselves. You lifted us up.”

“We remember. And we know there’s hard work ahead.

Hang in there. The water will recede. And the work will begin. And we’re coming. Signed, New Orleans”

When it feels like there is nothing you can do — like devastation is so total you don’t even know where to begin — that is the most important time to step up. If you would like to help Baton Rouge, in whatever way you can, here are some resources: