PHOTOGRAPHY: Jennifer Esneault
Usually when you think of a high school senior and water, you’re envisioning a swimming pool and the trendiest two-piece. Right now for Mackenzie, and so many others her age, water means back flow from bayous, sewer pipes backing up and National Guardsmen boating in with cases of bottled water.

Over a period of two days at the beginning of senior year, our area of Louisiana got 31+ inches of rain. Those trillions of gallons of water flooded homes that had never been flooded before during any weather event. People’s possessions were washed away. Schools were destroyed.

But we found a great amount of hope within ourselves. Neighbors and family literally went to the rescue of loved ones – some even rescued complete strangers. Mackenzie helped build the sandbag berm around her grandmother’s house, holding off the five feet of water that overtook most of the homes in the neighborhood, which still had several feet of water 10 days after the rain stopped. It’s receding, but slowly.

Beginning Monday, Mack and the other students at her high school will operate on a modified schedule so they can share their campus with students from another high school that was flooded. These guys just want to get back to a semblance of normalcy, and for too many of them, that is months away.

But like Mack here, we are resilient. We may have lost our belongings, but we are finding a truer sense of our selves.

Mackenzie Graham

Jennifer Esneault