Once again, I weep for my native state, Louisiana.
Just two months after LSU won the national football championship, which may be the last NCAA title awarded for awhile, Gov. Jon Bel Edwards shut down the state Sunday because of the soaring number of coronavirus cases.
My darling New Orleans, as Little Queenie and the Percolators called the old port city, now faces another disaster less than 20 years after the devastating flooding from Hurricane Katrina.
Its coastline disappearing, many of its citizens mired in poverty, poor health and ignorance, Louisiana is now one of the states worst hit by COVID-19.
Three of my sisters, my two brothers-in-law, and several nieces and nephews still live in Louisiana. My thoughts are with them.
My niece, Dr. Madelaine Fontenot, and her husband, Dr. Jeff Fontenot, are both residents at a hospital in Lafayette. Madelaine started her ICU rotation Monday and Jeff is on inpatient. "They are on the front lines now," my sister told me.
Most of the COVID-19 cases are rising in New Orleans, already endangered by climate change, flooding and the gulf's encroachment.
A poor city with an economy dominated by tourism, restaurants and entertainment, New Orleans will be especially hard hit by the shutdown.
New Orleans took years to recover from Katrina. The coronavirus is delivering another knockout punch. But the Crescent City has survived epidemics, the Civil War, economic decline, and natural disasters.
Before the state's shutdown, LSU's championship coach Ed Orgeron delivered a stirring video urging Louisianians to follow coronavirus precautions. Coach O.'s effective PSA gained national recognition.
Coach O.'s optimistic spirit, and Edwards' calm leadership, give hope that Louisiana will overcome this crisis, as it did the 1927 flood and Katrina.