This morning, my wife and I prayed for a family she works with, whose relatives in Louisiana have nowhere to live after their home was flooded. In what’s called the worst national disaster since Super Storm Sandy, 11 people have died and 40,000 homes have been damaged.
Twenty parishes were under a federal disaster zone and more than a dozen were subject to overnight curfews. At least 14 people have been arrested for looting over the last two days in East Baton Rouge Parish and nine more were arrested for the same crime in nearby Livingston Parish, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.
There was “total devastation” in some sections of East Baton Rouge Parish and “significant” power outages, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux reported Tuesday.
Though President Obama signed a major disaster declaration and activated FEMA, he himself (along with most of the country) is content to let this disaster remain in the background. Obama is on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, the exclusive Massachusetts island off of Cape Cod, where nothing is flooding.
On Sunday, after Obama had already played golf for about five hours, the small group of reporters that accompanies the president in public was released for dinner, but told to reassemble at 8:15 p.m. After a two-and-a-half-hour wait, Obama’s motorcade rolled down the dirt driveway of his secluded rental in Chilmark, on the island’s western tip.
Thirty minutes later, and after a circuitous route on largely darkened roads through five of the vineyard’s six towns, the motorcade pulled up to Lola’s in Oak Bluffs, on the other side of the island. The White House said the First Family, a description signifying the inclusion of Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, had joined friends for a “social event” at the Southern seafood restaurant.
Obama socialized for about an hour before returning his family to their rented home just before 1 a.m. Monday.
He was on the move again less than 12 hours later, to play his seventh round of golf since he arrived Aug. 6.
A week earlier, the president and Michelle spent nearly four hours at dinner with friends at an Oak Bluffs restaurant before returning to Chilmark around 11:30pm.
Two days later, the couple joined friends at State Road, a restaurant in West Tisbury where the Obamas have eaten many times.
Then the vacation kicked into a higher gear on Thursday, when the president and first lady joined friends for dinner in Edgartown. They returned home at 11 p.m.
Such an exhausting schedule. Meanwhile, 1,000 Red Cross volunteers are headed to Louisiana, and 8,400 people remain in emergency shelters. It’s so good to know that the president, so late in his last term, still cares (about golf).