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Peter Wetherall
Peter Wetherall
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Baton Rouge Devastated by Gustav–Forgetten by Main Stream Media

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana has been forgotten by main stream media. Hurricane Gustav recently made landfall in Louisiana. The main stream media organizations were camped out in New Orleans waiting to see if the hurricane would hit that city. When Gustav did not hit the city, the main stream media reported that New Orleans dodged the bullet and all was well in New Orleans and in Louisiana. This is not the facts. Even though the citizens of Clark County and residents of Las Vegas know that I generally dedicate my blog to space to pharmaceutical products litigation, I wanted I would share an email from a colleague that lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her email is below. . .

“Peter,

The world has forgotten Baton Rouge. The storm was devastating for us. More than 1 million people in this region are without power. More than 10,000 electric line men are working 24/7 to get the electric lines back up. (Yesterday, we saw a power line truck from Decatur, Alabama in my neighborhood working on the electric lines.) This is no small task. Power lines and poles have been snapped in half and/or tossed to the ground like toothpicks. Trees are down everywhere. Huge trees–beautiful oak trees–are in the middle of houses. During the first days after the storm broke, it was impossible to get gasoline for the car. The lines are not as long as they were, but Exxon has hired security guards at many gas stations, because the lines still wrap around for blocks. If we drive out of East Baton Rouge parish (county) to another parish (that has the luxury of electric) we can get provisions (food). A few stores are open in Baton Rouge, but for a city our size this is horrible. A few days ago Super Target opened up working on generators. ALL of their produce and meats were thrown out (spoiled b/c there was no electric for days). We could only get dry goods and can food. I noticed one woman who kept asking every Target employee that she saw whether or not they had powdered milk for her young children. People were everywhere buying whatever they could. Because they didn’t have meat or vegtables, my son and I ventured out the next day to Wal-Mart (in another parish) to see if we could get some fresh fruit. We had to stand in line outside the Wal-Mart for 30 minutes just to get inside to have the luxury to shop for the items we needed.

I am lucky, my electric came back on yesterday, but many many people are without. The citizens of Baton Rouge are pitching in to help each other. FEMA is here and the Baton Rouge government are both doing a wonderful job of keeping things under control. (Our Governor, Bobby Jindal, is a awesome. He has done a great job!) We are under a curfew. No one is supposed to be out in the city past 8:00 pm. This makes sense as some of the city remains shrouded in darkness because there is no power. The few stores that are open may not be taking all forms of payment (debit cards, credit cards, etc.). So the people that need things may be out of luck if they don’t have the hard cold cash to pay for things they need. FEMA is handing out water and MRE’s. This is as close as some people are getting to warm meals. (It is amazing how the simple luxury of a warm meal is taken for granted until you are forced to go without it.)

Few hospitals had power and some are having to evacuate patients to New Orleans because there is no air conditioning and because the generators do not have the capacity to generate the electric. The other night a hospital had to have 63 ambulances brought in from various states (Pennsylvania included) to be on hand to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes to cities that had the facilities and electric to care for them. It is not easy to drive around to assess the damage (first, we don’t want to “waste” the gasoline because it is so precious right now and second, there are hardly any stop lights that are working, and thirdly, you may have to be diverted to go around trees that still remain in the road.) A friend of mine (who is also an attorney) told me yesterday that he had 3 trees in his house! He is not alone. We can’t drive down a street next to my house because two huge pine trees block the street and are lying in my neighbors house.

The people of Baton Rouge will tell you that they are very disheartened that we have been forgotten. Also, our neighbors in Port Allen and many other communities from the point of landfall all along Highway 1/71 have also been forgotten. Just because the hurricane didn’t level New Orleans like Katrina did, doesn’t mean that there is not human suffering. It is hard to get the word out from because our communication lines are down or the signal is spotty. Because New Orleans wasn’t impacted, the national media left. They ignored the rest of the state. (After Katrina, Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities make up the largest population center of the state.) Why does the national media ignore us? Are we not newsworthy? Please help get the word out, we are in need, please tell anyone that will listen. . .”

Thank you for reading her email and, if you are able, please help get the word out about the victims of Hurricane Gustav.