Stories about post-Ida cleanup and helpers from far away bring this to mind:
When Hurricane Andrew tore through Baton Rouge in 1992, my Spanish Town neighborhood was without power for over a week.
So we hauled out our portable grills and started cooking the meat in our freezers.
Then a group of tree-cutters from Tennessee showed up to remove a giant tree that had been shoved into a home.
The homeowners, Shelley and Maybeth, were staying elsewhere, so when they saw the guys about to set up a tent to live in during the cutting, they offered their house — no power, but better than a tent.
We fed the tree cutters grilled steaks, sausage, chicken, etc., plus amberjack from a Gulf fishing trip. Neighbors with gas stoves shared jambalaya and crawfish stew with the workers.
When they left, Maybeth says the tree cutters left a nice note on the fridge thanking them for the hospitality.
One of the neighbors says the guys probably stayed an extra day so they could finish that crawfish stew…
Spike Barras says, "I've seen so many floods and storms, you can tell my state by the high water marks on my legs!"
Small town, big heart
Jeannette Beck says, "Our small town of Donaldsonville owes a huge 'thank you' to our privately owned businesses:
"Bellina's (world-famous boiled ham), Midway Grocery, and Big B’s of Belle Rose are invested in our community. Keeping their stores open after Ida cost them, as did running their generators to supply power to keep everything fresh.
"The big box store in our area finally opened after several days.
"People were in the streets raking and helping neighbors clean their yards. God bless small town America!"
Collin Andrews II says, "Our neighborhood post makes a great suggestion to help lineman bringing back power after Ida.
"Ask the linemen or their supervisors if you could wash their clothes for them. They will be forever grateful, and it will make you feel good."
Mike Legend II
On Friday, when we ran the story about Eboo Bienvenu, of St. Martinville, the LSU student in charge of Mike the Tiger when he was kidnapped by Tulane students (don't know why we put Eboo in Marksville in Friday's column — blame it on Ida).
Robert Cabes, of Lafayette, says he heard another Mike yarn. It may or may not be true, but it's still a good story:
"I believe this occurred in 1956, when I was at De La Salle. LSU was going to play Tulane in New Orleans, and students in charge of Mike drove the cage to the Audubon Zoo so he could be fed.
"After they turned Mike over to zoo personnel, they opened the cage door and drove slowly around, asking kids if they had seen a tiger."
Special People Dept.
— Buddy Mazzeno, of Metairie, celebrated his 100th birthday Saturday, Sept. 4. The celebration was in Abbeville due to Hurricane Ida. He was a chemist at the Southern Regional Research Center (USDA) in New Orleans, and one of the scientists who developed permanent press and flame retardant material.
— Curtis Fletcher, of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 93rd birthday Tuesday, Sept. 9. He is a veteran of World War II and Korea, serving aboard aircraft carriers USS Coral Sea, USS Kearsarge, USS Midway, USS Roosevelt, and USS Wright as an air crewman.
Rip Van Rudy
Ken and Laura Duhe, of St. Gabriel, tell this story:
"During Hurricane Ida and its aftermath, it's been hard to tell what our Boston terrier, Rudy, thought about the whole thing. (Fact is, he slept through most of it.)
"But after we took in my retired parents from hard-hit Lutcher and set them up in our master bedroom, I finally got a glimpse into Rudy's mindset.
"Watching from the kitchen on that first morning, I saw Rudy stir on the couch and tilt his head in surprise as he saw two 'seasoned citizens' emerging from our bedroom.
"To me, his puzzled expression clearly said: 'How LONG have I been sleeping?'"