Member Stories

Nextdoor Becomes Recovery Tool for Survivors of Louisiana Floods

Written by Annie Barco

It has been a devastating past few weeks for survivors of the Louisiana floods, as neighborhoods across southern Louisiana were drenched with an average of 11 inches of rain – one community was hit with an incredible 26+ inches.

Amidst the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, neighbors have been turning to Nextdoor to ensure the safety of their fellow neighbors and to begin taking steps towards recovery.

Lindsey Pyburn, a member of Nextdoor Northwoods, evacuated her home with her husband on Saturday afternoon once water levels began to reach a startling level. Her husband returned to their home the same day, however, to check on their chickens who were housed in the backyard. That is when Lindsey and family lost all contact with him.

Lindsey’s husband checking on their chickens before evacuating.

Lindsey’s dad checking on their chickens before evacuating.

“I began to get really nervous because I knew he had his phone, but he wasn’t picking up. I had his family members calling me in panic, saying they couldn’t reach him,” says Lindsey. “So we started contacting everyone we could think of.”

After contacting neighbors and the fire department to no avail, Lindsey’s last hope was an Urgent Alert posted to Nextdoor, asking for any remaining neighbors to check on her husband. Miraculously, a neighbor who was still close by responded within minutes and jumped on his 4-wheeler to ride over to their house. Lindsey’s husband was found safe and was able to use his neighbor’s phone to call her.

“Saturday was one of the worst nights of the flood. All the exits out of the neighborhood were completely flooded, so my husband had no way out. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep that night if it hadn’t been for Nextdoor and the neighbor who checked on him,” said Lindsey.

Lindsey’s front yard before and during the flooding.

Lindsey’s front yard before and during the flooding.

These past few weeks, families have been returning to their homes, many of them finding only structural remains and piles of their belongings on front lawns and in the streets. Lindsey and her husband were one of the luckiest in their neighborhood, finding their home and belongings unharmed as their house is newer and raised higher than others.

“We’re just trying to help those around us the best we can.”
“I posted on Nextdoor this week offering clothes to neighbors who have lost everything. We were lucky to have our belongings intact, so now we’re just trying to help those around us the best we can,” said Lindsey. Other neighbors have offered to deliver meals to flood survivors, advertising their efforts on Nextdoor and asking people to comment if they’d like to participate.

Beyond Lindsey’s Northwoods neighborhood, neighbors have been taking to Nextdoor to help survivors, as well. Individuals have been using Nextdoor to return displaced belongings, recommend contractors or offer their own services, and advise neighbors on how to repair damaged items.

One Nextdoor member, Samuel M., listed a room on Nextdoor for 50% off the usual rent. His neighborhood of Southdowns wasn’t as affected by the storms, so it was a place survivors could flee to during the floods.

“I could have held the room and listed it for full price, but I knew I needed to do my part,” said Samuel. “I was about to begin renovations in the bathroom and bedroom, but once the floods began I rushed to a supply store and completed the renovations myself in a day and a half. I’ve had several inquiries about the room and have received great feedback from my network.”

If you would like to make a contribution to the survivors of the Louisiana floods, you can find a list of ways to do so here. You can also text LAFLOOD to 313131 to donate to the Capital Area United Way or text STORM to 51555 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army.

Do  you have a story about how you have used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.

Header image courtesy of The Times-Picayune.

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