When Hurricane Ida Began to charge towards Louisiana last week, our community’s routine was abruptly interrupted as preparations took over our plans for the next few days and weeks. My refrigerator, like many others’, went through a forced deep cleaning of sorts.
As residents of South Louisiana, we all know that hurricane season is that time of the year when our state goes into an unspoken, but well-known mode of high alert. Even though West Baton Rouge is not extremely close to the coastline, the chances of feeling the effects a bad storm or hurricane are high in my eyes. Many in our community have suffered the damages of natural disasters in the past. Some moved to this area seeking refuge after surviving extreme weather elsewhere. And in many cases, our family and loved ones are still living in areas of high risk on the Gulf Coast. Whatever the case is, hurricane season is an unavoidable reality for residents here.
Growing up in Mexico City, the only major natural disaster that occurred with any frequency was earthquakes. Though the city’s infrastructure and strict construction laws are careful to consider these phenomena, people who have lived there are educated about what to do in the case one occurs. But unlike a hurricane, when an earthquake takes place, there is not much time to prepare. You can only react. Decisions are made in a matter of seconds.
My time in Louisiana has made me realize how much preparation and resilience it takes for people to live in this area of the world.
With the coming of Hurricane Ida, it was the first time since I have lived here that, after assessing the situation, we decided to evacuate to a safer place. Maybe it was the combination of the projected weather path, my being seven months pregnant, trying to finish my final projects for grad school, and the fact that I didn’t grow up facing hurricanes, but I felt extra nervous this time.
Like thousands of people from South Louisiana, we evacuated to Texas, where we had the fortune to be received by family members who hosted us with love for a few days, praying for the safety of our city and state. While I am thankful the damage of Ida wasn’t as bad as initially projected for our area, I am also conscious of the destruction and pain that was left behind in other areas of the region.
It is in the middle of pain and difficulties that I have seen some of the most beautiful acts of kindness and love in our state. I’ve witnessed people washing clothes for electric linemen in our community, and others serving food to people in need, or hosting friends without power or who may have lost everything. It’s those type of actions that give me hope for the future and remind me that there is no way to love without showing through our actions.
I would like to encourage all of my readers in the middle of this difficult time for many: be safe, be kind, be loving and be patient. Things will get better soon. Meanwhile, help and love somebody.
This week, I’d also like to share a recipe for a salad that came as a result of my pre-hurricane refrigerator cleaning. My unique salads usually have a combination of a protein, grains, a type of nut and/or seeds, cheese, something roasted, and something pickled. The key is to create a colorful delicious medley of flavors!
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half
½ purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup of broccoli, cut in small pieces
1 cup of spinach, sliced
1 can of garbanzo beans
A handful of black olives
2 Tomatoes, cut in half
2 Cucumbers, cut in slices
Feta cheese, to taste
A handful of pumpkin seeds
A handful of cranberries
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Equal parts of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
Mix dressing ingredients well.
In a large bowl, add all ingredients, and drizzle dressing over it and toss the salad. Add some ranch and croutons for additional flavor.