Oops! Gustav hammered Baton Rouge, no one noticed

September 8, 2008

While everyone is patting themselves on the back for getting people out of New Orleans in fine fashion, and nervously tracking Hurricane Ike, another tragedy unfolds out of public view:  Baton Rouge got hammered by Gustav.  A week after the storm hit, half the city is still without power.

Anna West, at right with her son Anton Guevarra, and Zahli and Mira Bhayroo at the Baton Rouge, La., home of Lori Waselchuk, a freelance photographer (New York Times)

Anna West, at right with her son Anton Guevarra, and Zahli and Mira Bhayroo at the Baton Rouge, La., home of Lori Waselchuk, a freelance photographer (New York Times)

Baton Rouge provided refuge for New Orleanians fleeing the devastation of Katrina.  While the city braced for a new wave of global warming refugees, it wasn’t prepared to get hammered itself.

Have you heard or seen much on the news about the levels of destruction in Baton Rouge?

What if we had a hurricane wipe out a city other than New Orleans, and no one noticed?

How many other places are in rather desperate straits, with no notice from national media?  The New York Times appears to have missed the damage, though a reader named Allison tried to tell them in comments to one post at the Lede:

I too am a Louisiana native and live in the nation’s capital. My family lives in Baton Rouge and I can’t quite figure out why Louisiana is treated like a third world country every time a major hurricane hits the state. They are still without power(day 4) and some are without running water. There are reports that it could be weeks before it is fully restored. If it were New York, Washington, D.C., or even Los Angeles every electric truck in the country would have been there days ago to help repair downed lines. Instead all we are hearing about in the media is how well Pres. Bush and Gov. Jindal prepared for this hurricane! Go figure!

— Posted by Allison

Some say Baton Rouge would not be swamp kill from Gustav, had Bobby Jindal been elected governor of Louisiana.

Oy.

Old American Airlines pal Gil Brassard called to say he’s got a new generator, and can charge his cell phone to call out, but still doesn’t have any other electricity.  He complimented Jindal on the job he’s doing.  Is the rest of electricity-short Baton Rouge doing as well as Gil?  Who knows?

Do you think the McCain campaign’s presence in the early part of the storm distracted FEMA, the president and the governor?

Signs a news story is being missed:


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