Almost 11 years after Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans submerged, Louisiana is once again dealing with historic flooding. Heavy rains have led to the Amite River inundating Baton Rouge, the state capital. Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards has deployed the National Guard, and his federal disaster declaration now includes 30 parishes. The storms and flooding are responsible for the deaths of at least nine people. They’ve also have displaced tens of thousands of citizens—The Wire’s Wendell Pierce is among those who’ve lost their homes to the flood waters.
Pierce, a New Orleans native, has been posting updates about the natural disaster on Twitter. Over the weekend, he shared the sad news that he’d lost his home in Baton Rouge, but he still managed to offer help to those in need. The actor, who recently initiated a housing campaign to help revitalize Baltimore, had previously lost his childhood home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The Times-Picayune spoke with metro councilman Ryan Heck, who echoed Pierce’s supportive statements. “We’re down, but the people living here keep picking us back up. People are forgetting about their own problems and risking their lives, opening their homes and donating their money to help others who have it worse.” Relief efforts, bolstered by federal aid, are already underway; the Times-Picayune has published (with intermittent updates) a list of ways people can help Baton Rouge residents, including donations.
The city is also looking after its own, as The Advocate reports that Celtic Studios, the largest film and television production studio in the state, has become a haven for displaced residents. The facility threw open its doors on Sunday, welcoming more than 3,000 evacuees, and is now working with state agencies to provide food and shelter. The neighboring city of Shreveport has also sent shelter workers to help the staff at Celtic Studios.
The 150,000-square foot studio was once a sought-after location for TV and film productions: Twilight: Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2 were shot there, as well as 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four movie. Most recently, America’s groundbreaking new drama Underground had set up shop. Unfortunately, as Deadline notes, the state scaled back on tax incentives for such productions, leaving Celtic Studios mostly out of business for now.