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Their Lives Have Been Upended by Hurricane Ida

by Scientific American
August 31st 2021
00:05:41
Description
Theresa and Donald Dardar lived their whole lives in coastal Louisiana. They knew the “big one” might come someday. It did, and now everything is uncertain.
mhm I'm doing two and this is scientific Americans 62nd science mhm mm hmm. Hurricane Itis slammed into the Louisiana coast on Sunday by landfall. It was a category four storm 150 mile an hour winds brought down trees, power lines, even whole buildings over a million people have lost power in the state and at least one person has died. I'm a documentary filmmaker and just two weeks ago I was in the same place where IDa came ashore. I was working on another film for scientific american. This one about Louisiana's attempts to save its coastline after decades of erosion, IDa is just another massive blow to a state that still loses a football field of coastline. Every hour During my reporting, I had met Teresa and Donald Gardner, a couple in their 60s from the plantations, Native American tribe. Their community lives right along the Gulf coast and has seen over 90% of their land lost erosion over the past several decades. But unlike many in the area, the couple never moved. Sure we could build a house, buy a house somewheres else, but it, it would never be the same.

This is the roots. This just like a plant. You? D root the plant and you leave it in the sun is going to die. That was Teresa speaking to me in my first film about coastal erosion and Louisiana at the time, she and her husband Donald had no plans to leave their home, no matter how threatening the waters or winds got. But this weekend would IDa bearing down mandatory evacuations were called Theresa and Donald loaded up their car with their two dogs and headed to texarkana texas, a six hour drive away. This was the only place they could find a hotel. They had to leave most of their possessions including Donald's five year old horse pretty girl back on the levee. I've been calling and texting with Teresa throughout the weekend. We've been sharing what little information we have about her home and community. This was my most recent call to her. Oh hi Theresa is due, hi, is this a good time for you? Yeah, I'm good. So how has any new news since we last talked values? You know like trees down, pull snapping.

And uh we heard uh that homes were lost and we heard Mcdonald's uncle lost his home. We heard that it looked like a war zone because there's so much damage, so much devastation in the community. And then we didn't think that there was water because you know like Donald said, well this was the big one. And then he said, well no not really because we didn't get water. But now we know that we did get water because uh Key Asia and the sheriff, we're not able to go into further than the punishing supermarket because of the water. Theresa has been getting updates from her relatives who stayed behind when their cell phones work. Most news outlets have focused on the larger cities. Text and facebook posts have been her only news from plantation jews. Usually we get no publicity. You know it's always the big city of New Orleans. You know I mean the news about our community, a lot of people don't a lot of people don't even know that our community exists or that our tribe even exist.

So do you think this is the big one? You and I have talked about this and Donald and I have talked about this, you know we keep on talking about you know the coast of roading and the dangers of that. Was this the big one that we've you know that you've been worried about for a while or you know your community has been worried about hope. It was the big one that we don't get anything bigger because well I don't know what we have left. So but if it's not the big one, I would hate to see what the big one's gonna look like. And right now we have no running water, no gas and no electricity. Do you have any word when that might come back? We have no idea. We will we have a propane uh little gas stove that we use in the boat. We could cook on that but we'll have to buy water you know to bathe and and we'll have to use the bayou water to flush the toilet.

My prayer is that we have a home to go home to and that you know that everybody has a home to go to. I know it may not be the case, you know that everything is in God's hands and that what I have to I have to do, I have to let go and let out because I can't, I can't control it. You know. A few hours after we talked, Theresa texted me some good news, a cousin had checked on her house and it was still standing, a lot of damage but still standing and Donald's horse has survived the storm. Theresa and Donald planned to drive the six hours back home today to begin cleanup. But the roads leading up to their house are still flooded and unpassable. She says they'll figure things out when they get there for scientific American 60 seconds. Science. I'm doing too

Their Lives Have Been Upended by Hurricane Ida
Their Lives Have Been Upended by Hurricane Ida
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