A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Steve Wheeler and his family. Wheeler is a journalist whose house has to be almost completely reconstructed after the epic floods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana dumped over two feet of water in forty-eight hours.

Wheeler took to Facebook to let his friends and family know how they were doing after the flood. Each night Wheeler set on a twin bed and wrote a note, titled Dry Pillow Diary. Each night, more people commented. Each night we waited to see how Steve was fairing.

I am going to include the posts before Steve found a dry pillow to lay his head at night. After that Wheeler starts his Dry Pillow musings. As you will soon find out, Steve did not get much FEMA money, and he had no insurance. I will start with Day One and list them all. If you would like to help Wheeler and his family the Go Fund me account is still open and able to take donations.

August 20, 2016

Dry Pillow Diary
Day 6 post-flood

Today was a good day.

Traffic is a nightmare as Denham Springs, Baton Rouge, the city of Central and South Louisiana, in general, try to recover from catastrophic floods.

But no less than a dozen people — friends, families, and strangers — fought their way to Victory Lane to help us empty our house of furniture, mementos, photographs and other things. Most of it was tossed in the ever-growing trash pile in our front yard.

It’s getting harder to drive down Victory Lane because of the mountains of debris on both sides of the street.

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Victory Lane

In our house, we have nearly finished cutting out 4-feet of Sheetrock and pulling the nasty wet insulation out of our walls.

I can’t wait until I don’t have to wear a mask over my face to enter my home.

We are among the lucky ones who managed to find a climate-controlled storage room today to put the furniture and other things we think we might be able to salvage.

The A-Plus storage facility was inundated by floodwaters but as the units were cleaned out they were rented immediately.

It all seemed surreal, squeezing down rows of trash piles between the storage units while renters tossed their possessions in large burn piles 15 feet away. When the smoke blew in the wrong direction, we’d scurry inside the storage unit to escape the toxic smoke from burning sofas, chairs, and mattresses.

The destruction here is complete.

It was a relief to pull out of A-Plus knowing that what’s left of our possessions was safely locked away in a 10 X 15-foot room.

At age 59, I find that I just can’t go all day like I used to, and by 5 o’clock in the afternoon, I’m already running out of gas, with two hours of daylight left.

Once the time-critical stage of demolition, water removal, and mold remediation is complete, the pace can slow down.

I’ve eaten meals and had drinks in the past few days with no clue who fixed the food or where it came from. Food and drinks have just appeared like magic.

I am amazed at the way Louisiana residents have pulled together to help each other out.

And to put it as nicely as I can, I am less than thrilled with FEMA.
Now that the floodwaters have receded, I’m not seeing as many helicopters or military vehicles in Denham Springs.

I’ve seen exactly two American Red Cross trucks, although I understand they are doing a good job. I’ve seen dozens of flooring specialists and water removal services…and zero FEMA vehicles.

Six days after jumping through all sorts of hoops and getting registered, I have yet to hear a word from the government that is supposed to help me recover from this disaster.

What I have seen is people of all backgrounds helping other people of all backgrounds.

Race doesn’t matter to the nasty brown water that invaded all of our homes.

And I’ve seen just about every church in town doing God’s work, feeding, clothing and taking care of anyone and everyone.

Thank God for the charity of friends, neighbors, my TEXAS brethren, and even strangers. Five “friends of friends” from Mississippi showed up this morning and worked like crazy at my house. I’m in awe of their compassion.

Louisiana will recover from this catastrophe thanks to who we are: a deeply religious bunch that cares about our brothers and sisters.
So when disaster strikes your town – and it will someday – don’t look for the government to save you. When trouble comes – and it will someday – look to your friends, neighbors churches and most of all, the good Lord above.

Tonight, once again, my pillow is dry.

Good night and God bless from Denham Springs, Louisiana.