My poem, “Louisiana Disaster Recovery 3.0,” appears in the latest issue of Gulf Coast. I’m so grateful that it found a home in a journal so close to my hometown because it’s about the floods my family and friends suffered in the greater Baton Rouge area last fall. The poem was written for a multimedia dance/art/creative writing concert organized by Joshua Legg at my university last fall. The concert was called “Re/Action,” and Joshua chose coping with tragedy as its overarching theme: how communities create stories about ourselves to cope with tragedy, successfully or unsuccessfully. The floods happened right before he told me about the prompt, and every time I tried to respond to it, I kept thinking about them.
The frequent hurricanes and floods are part of the reason my spouse and I chose to leave south Louisiana. It’s so difficult to build something, when the weather continuously undoes all your hard work. My mother-in-law’s home in Vermilion Parish was devastated by Hurricane Rita in 2005, and they had to use FEMA money to raise their house up on concrete stilts. Most of the other houses on the Ramke family land have been destroyed by the constant floods. Here are some pictures from our most recent visit to the land that my daughter will inherit when she grows up–that is, if it’s still around.
You can order a copy of the Gulf Coast issue here.