Inmates fill sandbags in northern Louisiana.
Inmates fill sandbags in northern Louisiana. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Jeremy Hobson: And we'll start with Isaac, which is back to tropical storm status this morning with top sustained winds around 45 miles per hour. But it's very slow moving as it continues to dump rain on the state of Louisiana.

Residents in the northwest part of the state are preparing homes and businesses for potential flooding. And area hotels are full as the people of south Louisiana wait out the storm.

Kate Archer Kent of Red River Radio reports.


Kate Archer Kent: A diesel engine powers a sandbag filling machine in the small town of Benton, Louisiana. Prison inmates from the Bossier Parish correctional facility have stockpiled 15,000 sandbags that are provided free to local residents.

Ronnie Andrews is the parish's public works director. He doesn't think the sandbags will be necessary, but he says it doesn't hurt to be over-prepared.

Ronnie Andrews: If we need to we'll work around the clock. If not, we'll regroup the next day. But I don't think that's it's going to hurt us too bad as dry as it's been around here.

Each car can take up to 25 sandbags for free. And those prison inmates who fill the sandbags, by the way, they don't get paid for their labor.

In Benton, Louisiana, I'm Kate Archer Kent for Marketplace.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.