As students prepared for classes last week, a group of Southern Miss students volunteered their time to help flood victims in Louisiana.
Daniel Honore, a Baton Rouge native and senior construction management major at Southern Miss, witnessed firsthand the generosity of his fellow students in his family’s time of need.
The heavy rain in Louisiana left 4 feet of rainwater in his family’s two- story home off Perkins Road in Baton Rouge.
Water began accumulating in Honore’s home on Aug. 12, while Honore was in Hattiesburg.
“My parents sent me a picture of about 4 inches of water in the house,” Honore said. “They had started to
put everything on cinderblocks. It’s happened before at our house. Water just kept on coming, so they decided to leave and stay at a friend’s house.”
The water continued to rise all Saturday, reaching about 2.5 feet. On Sunday, things began to look brighter as the water receeded, but Monday it started again and reached about 4 feet.
Honore, who was still in Hattiesburg, was not able to get to Baton Rouge to help his parents until Tuesday because the interstate had been closed off.
“That Wednesday, I had family and friends come help and we actually started getting water out of the house,” Honore said.
Back in Hattiesburg, a group of Southern Miss fraternity members had prepared a trip to Baton Rouge Monday before school to help flood victims.
“Sixteen IFC students from different fraternities traveled to Baton Rouge to help clear houses,” said Greek Life Director Charles Childress.
These students were able to find time away from their busy back-to-school schedules to help people who lost everything in the flood.
Honore, a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, reached a hand out to these students.
“This past Monday, members of Greek Life were coming down to help in a different part of Baton Rouge,” Honore said. “I told the president of SAE that I’d appreciate it if some of them came my way to help out, and so Charles [Childress] said it was fine for them to come my way. I think I had six or seven from my fraternity come and help out at my house. We were able to clear out everything from the house. The next day we were able to gut out our sheetrock, just because they came and helped clear our two-story house.”
Honore said he was grateful for his brothers’ help and that not as much would have been accomplished had they not come to help.
“My siblings had to go back to school that Monday, so all our help was gone by then,” Honore said. “The help of the fraternity guys was huge. It made a huge difference.”
While the members of SAE helped Honore, other members of the IFC were in a different part of town helping clear houses.
Zachary Irons, a senior and member of Pi Kappa Phi, was a part of this group.
“I pretty much found out about it the day before at an IFC meeting,” Irons said. “[I} figured I’d go down and start helping with the cleanup at some houses.”
“It was really humbling to see each neighborhood, as far as you could look down there were just piles and piles of basically rubble from inside their houses,” Irons said. “Furniture, flooring from the houses, carpet, dry-wall– literally everything in their houses was ruined up to 4 feet from water damage. So we went through and started cleaning all that out. It was humbling to see how quickly things can go in
Honore said he walked away from the experience grateful for his friends.
“It just takes one phone call to make a huge difference,” he said. “They really didn’t hesitate. When I told them about it, they immediately asked how they could help.”