WBRZ Flood Coverage Extends 114 Continuous Hours

57adfa3f1b4ed_image“I’ve been fighting for three days, sandbagging, had a big pump and everything, I slept maybe 12 hours in the last four days trying to save it.”

If you want to get some idea of what people in the flooded areas of Louisiana are going through, take 20 seconds to watch this video from WBRZ’s Facebook page.

"I had to get out yesterday because my kids need me," she said. "I have nowhere to go.”FULL INTERVIEW: http://www.wbrz.com/news/sorrento-mom-i-have-nowhere-to-go-

Posted by WBRZ Channel 2 on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Like she said, I have no words.

As President Obama prepares to visit the flood areas of Louisiana tomorrow, residents continue to try and recover their homes, their possessions and their lives. Imagine your house filled with muddy water right up to the roof line? What can you do except pile up what the water has ruined on the front lawn, like all your neighbors have done, and wait.

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Normalcy, sleeping in your own bed, going to school, cooking breakfast, playing with the dog, never seemed so wonderful or so far away.

The video of the woman describing her attempts to save her home is from WBRZ, the ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge owned by the Manship family. Like many TV stations all across Louisiana, WBRZ threw all their resources at the story to keep residents up to date on the information they needed for five straight days, staying on the air for 114 hours.

Lee Polowczuk

Lee Polowczuk

“First and foremost we are here for the viewers,” said Lee Polowczuk, WBRZ’s news director.

“Their lives have changed forever. However, we have seen over and over again the resiliency and strength of the community and expect our area to come back better than ever.

“Secondly, WBRZ’s entire organization answered the bell round after round and remains standing Louisiana Strong. Our employees’ dedication can’t adequately be expressed by words, but can be measured by the size of their hearts.”

This story may be highlighting the efforts of WBRZ, like a few earlier columns on Market Share highlighted the efforts of other TV stations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, but I know there are others that have answered the bell for their communities in this disaster that I may not get to mention.

If you’re a viewer reading this, a civilian not in the local TV news business, know that these people who are providing this valuable information for days on end may have their own homes under water, their own families displaced, their own futures unknown.

At times like this, for the folks on the ground at these TV stations, it’s not about profit or money, or ratings and competition, it’s about a duty they feel.

In an article about a stunning rescue of a woman and her dog caught on tape, a video seen around the world, the photographer, a young reporter named Robbie Reynold, told me that he was aware “that the public rely on local TV for information,” because people were stopping him all the time asking him for information.

“People are always telling me,” Reynold said, “I’m watching your station, watching your report. It’s amazing, I never felt that kind of duty before as a journalist. It’s pretty incredible.”

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