Last month, Louisiana took on more than two feet of rain in one day, resulting in the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy. While the flood was unpredictable and devastating, Leslee, a Republic Wireless member, had one sense of security throughout the crisis: her Republic phone.
According to CNN, the flood-damaged at least 60,000 homes, displacing more than 20,000 residents.
Luckily, Leslee’s neighborhood didn’t experience major flooding, but conditions were much worse near her family’s house and workplace in Baton Rouge. A few of her extended family members evacuated their homes. Others lost their cars.
“The side of the town that I’m on is elevated but the other side had some monstrous flooding,” she said. “I was cut off from [my family] because I couldn’t get into Baton Rouge.”
Searching for a Signal
In addition to the flood’s physical damage, reports of outages on AT&T’s network spiked from Aug. 13-15, leaving many customers in and around Baton Rouge without cell service.
Leslee’s phone, however, worked perfectly throughout the flood thanks to Republic Wireless’s WiFi calling technology that doesn’t rely on cell towers.
“I had a lot of family in Baton Rouge that we had trouble getting ahold of because they were on AT&T, and all the land lines went out,” she said.
Eventually, friends and family who still had electricity used Facebook Messenger to stay in touch. Leslee’s sister-in-law even drove two hours away until she found somewhere with cell service. Crazy, right?!
“After so many of my family and friends were going online because they couldn’t use their phones at all, I thought it was really cool that mine worked the whole time and theirs didn’t,” she said.
When the rain started coming down Friday, Aug. 12, Leslee navigated to work around flooded roads. As a medical laboratory scientist for the Louisiana State Lab, much of her work continued despite the extreme weather.
“We had to pick some crazy routes to get into work because the interstate was closed down and covered with water,” she said.
The State Lab sent her home later that day as water levels rose. Major flooding kept her in and out of work for an entire week. At one point, her department even called in the Coast Guard to get samples they needed from the hospital.
With five feet of water covering the road, getting to the grocery store wasn’t any easier. And it’s no surprise the store had completely stocked out of bread and meat by the time she made it there.
“Except for tortillas,” Leslee said. “For some reason, there was still tortillas.”
A Positive Outlook
Despite devastation and loss, Leslee’s family and others affected by the flood are doing their best to move forward with a smile.
“Everyone I know is OK,” she said. “They lost their homes and their cars but they have a really good attitude about it.”
Leslee worked her first full day back Monday, Aug. 22. During more than a week of uncertainty, she was thankful she could rely on her Republic phone. ♥
“The flood was scary but I felt relieved I was able to have a phone that worked,” Leslee said.