The combined Cal-Pac and Desert Southwest (DSW) team sent to Baton Rouge was intended as a recovery team, but was changed at the last minute to an Early Response Team (ERT) on November 14 – 20, 2016. The team totaled 17, eleven from DSW and six from Cal-Pac. Cal-Pac was represented by four churches: Ontario, Glendale, North Hollywood, and Redondo Beach.
This area of the state received over two feet of rain resulting in extensive damage to thousands of homes. The houses worked on were very distressed. The owners were almost without hope because their need was so great and widespread. Flooding ranged from two feet to seven feet of water. One house had seven feet of water for several weeks.
The combined team worked on three houses. Then we worked with students from Louisiana Tech Wesley Foundation on a fourth and finally the Cal-Pac team worked on a fifth house.
Once again, being a caring Christian presence was the most precious gift. At one location, some of the team spent time cleaning and reorganizing two tackle boxes, and it meant everything to the owner. One wife was thrilled to have her washing machine turned upright and cleaned off, no matter whether it actually worked or not.
The team met the homeowners and many were still in shock as they tried to deal with the trauma of the event and the loss of so much that was cherished. The team worked closely with the homeowners to encourage and affirm their decisions to keep (white bag) or discard (black bag) items.
St Andrews hosted the team and their conference charged $15 per night per person. Lunch was provided daily by volunteers, which was much appreciated and helped our budget significantly.