The headline may have grabbed you, and you may have thought, What does he mean by that?" Well, let me explain.

Over the weekend, I started to reflect on everything we have been through here in our beautiful Southwest Louisiana over the past 12 months.

Around this time last year, we heard about this coronavirus thing but didn't know what that even meant. Little did we know how it would affect businesses, people's jobs, and unfortunately losing our loved ones to the disease. It shut down not only the world but it impacted our area and the great folks here as well.

Fast-forward a few months to late August of 2020, when the Southwest Louisiana area was hit with a Category 4 hurricane. It devastated our entire region as our people lost homes, businesses, and basically became homeless overnight. Six months later, people are still living in travel trailers or in their homes that still have severe damage.

We have dealt with insurance companies who don't want to pay and contractors who are hard to find to help us rebuild, all while still having to stay safe from a virus that has now killed over half a million people in the last 12 months.

To add insult to injury, we were hit with a second hurricane just six weeks later, wiping out any progress that had been made or just finishing the job of our property and businesses that were already crippled from the last storm.

Photo by Mike Soileau TSM

And then there was last week, when Southwest Louisiana saw some of the coldest temperatures in years, including an ice storm and snow causing our area to be shut down once again. It seemed just like another hurricane hit us as we lost power and water services again. I know we were out of water for four days.

On top of that, folks couldn't find supplies they needed, as grocery stores were empty because they couldn't get trucks in with new supplies due to the weather making us have to deal with the food and supplies we had until more could be brought back into the area.

I said all that to say this: I was born and raised here in Lake Charles, and I am proud of our people here in Southwest Louisiana. With all this going on, people are so eager to put their problems aside to help others. Here are some examples.

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After the stay-at-home order was lifted, people were eager to get out and support our local businesses and restaurants and the local people who work there so they could all get paychecks.

After the hurricanes hit our area, you couldn't go more than a few blocks without seeing someone set up on a corner street serving up hot, free meals to whoever needed them. People were at folks' houses helping them remove debris and chainsawing trees and stuff to clear the way for rebuilding.

Recently, local organizations gave out much-needed supplies like cases of water to people who still have no running water in their homes after the winter storm, or have water but with the boil advisory, it was not safe to drink.

These are just a couple of examples of why we live in the greatest area of the United States of America. No matter what we are going through, we are always willing to help our neighbors in their time of need. That is why I and everyone here at Townsquare Media are so proud to live in Southwest Louisiana.

It is you who makes the difference and makes this the best place to live. Standing ovation to you, SWLA.

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