OUR OPINION: Are we the forgotten victims?

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Even though Ascension Parish is still picking up the pieces after Hurricane Gustav blew them down and Hurricane Ike passed by us with not much more than a glance, parish residents can now try to return to some sense of normalcy.

Unfortunately, not many people outside of the Gulf south know how bad the damages were here. At least not if they watch any of the mega cable news channels or read the national newspapers.

It seems that much of the big media saw Hurricane Gustav heading for Louisiana and thought to themselves, “We need to get to New Orleans because this could be worse than Katrina.”?So they traveled to the Crescent City and waited for the big hit. But, when the storm landed west of New Orleans and took its liberties with Baton Rouge and much of south central Louisiana, those same media members took one look, saw that New Orleans’ levees held, and moved on to the next “big story.”

Obviously, they didn’t take Interstate 10 through Ascension Parish and Baton Rouge. Or, if they did, they must have been driving with their eyes closed to miss the damage here. Trees down and demolished buildings. Rising river and lake waters inundating homes and streets. Electricity outages for the past two weeks.

It’s a shame that our area received little to no attention nationally for what we went through during Hurricane Gustav. The Baton Rouge metro area  may not be a the size of Houston or even New Orleans, but we are just as important. We are not saying that we were hurt here worse than Katrina devastated New Orleans, because we were not. But  we feel that a blind eye was turned to the metro area by national media in our time of need.

That lack of coverage also hurts recovery efforts. Gov. Bobby Jindal himself said that since many people outside of the state did not see the level of damage here, they do not know how bad assistance is needed. With his current star status among national Republican leaders, we’d hoped that the focus would have turned to how he handled such a disaster.

We hope that in the future, when large scale disaster events occur here, our brethren in the national media will take a little more time to find the true stories, other than looking for the next big flash in the pan event to plaster in our faces.

But, one can say, that’s what local news outlets are for anyway, right?