Wednesday, April 27, 2011, was my second day on the job at The News-Star. As I am balancing school and work for the next few weeks, I am still living in Ruston. Tuesday night brought a ton of rain and hail, but the next morning it was sunny and bright. I had no clue what I was walking into when I was called in early to come to work.
I was told to look for storm damage on my way in and to take the scenic route in… A tree down here, a few limbs there… not much to get me riled up.. it was just a storm right?
As I sat down at my desk to start and upload my storm damage images, an editor gave me two addresses that the owners had to leave the night before because the water was too high. Not really knowing what to expect, I set out… (forgetting to record my milage).
After a wrong turn into a dead end street (I hate the GPS), a few names being shouted at my direction and some rather explicit instructions to go home to my mother, I pulled up in front of a house with a man wearing waders, sitting on a chair in his flooded carport.
Hoping and praying that this neighborhood was less unfriendly than the last (and very conscious that I was carrying a bag of 5 grand worth of issued camera gear) I stepped out of my car and went about taking pictures and talking to people.
Turns out everyone was most friendly and helpful. The flooding was terrible. Blame was being thrown around. Some valid points. Some angry accusation. Some fear. Some resigned looks. Some optimism.
Up to about 3 feet of standing water in some places ruined homes, cars and spirits.
Second day on the job. This is why I love it. This is why I do it. Talking to people. Hearing their stories. Listening. Observing. Helping them by sharing their feelings and emotions.