In my position as parish administrator for Calcasieu Parish, I am heavily involved in hurricane preparation, response, recovery and mitigation activities, as are parish governments across the state.
As your readers know, our southwestern corner of the state was struck by two hurricanes within 6 weeks, one of which was the strongest hurricane to hit the state since 1856, and the other a water-heavy event that reopened many physical (and mental) wounds.
I can't adequately put into words what that experience has been like, but the devastation is wide and deep. Although our plight has been overlooked or under-reported in many cases, the opposite is true with The Advocate's ongoing coverage of the impact to our area from the storms and the recovery now taking place.
Whether it's personal stories from residents affected by the storms, images of the damage, or editorials urging our state not to forget our situation, The Advocate has kept our story in the minds of our fellow Louisianans, and we are appreciative.
Folks in our area have a long history of being self-sufficient and not particularly boastful. This is a great place to live and work, but sometimes our more stoic and reserved nature means we are underestimated or overlooked, which is unfortunate.
We will recover over time, and indeed thrive, but right now our area needs help from others: financial resources, volunteer labor, technical assistance, etc. We also need to know that we are not alone in our time of trial.
Thanks to this newspaper, we remain in the hearts and minds of our neighbors throughout the state, and that is worth a great deal.