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The water never reached Kimberly Viator's doorstep because her house sits up on a hill.

But all around her, her Youngsville, Louisiana, neighbors' homes were taking on massive amounts of water.

And all over the state, things are just as bad: Over 40,000 homes are said to have been destroyed or damaged in this year's Louisiana flooding.


An intersection is completely engulfed by floodwater. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"We were so blessed," Kimberly said.

When Kimberly heard of people throwing away their treasured family photos because of water damage, though, she felt her heart break.

Kimberly says a family member was helping out at a neighbor's house, and they started throwing albums and albums of sopping wet photos into the garbage, assuming they were ruined.

"I said, 'No, don't do that, oh my gosh. We can try to salvage them.'"

Kimberly knew she could put her years of photography experience to use. So she posted on her professional Facebook page with a simple message, offering to do anything she could to help save photos for those in need:

For anyone in the flood area here in south Louisiana please do not throw out your wet or damaged photos. I am not just...

Posted by Kimberly Ann Photography on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Almost immediately, thousands of cries for help filled Kimberly's inbox.

Her first challenge? Carefully thawing and drying a frozen wedding album for a nearby couple.

Removing wet photos from an album like this is tricky work, and it needs to be done fast. Photo by Kimberly Ann Photography, used with permission.

Freezing photos can help keep the images intact while you move them to a place where they can dry out properly, she says. This first batch dried perfectly with no damage, but Kimberly also fixes smearing, smudging, tears, and other kinds of damage by creating high-resolution scans of the photos, manipulating them in Photoshop, and reprinting them on photo paper.

Then there was a woman whose 10-year-old son had passed away just days before the flooding.

"Anything she had of his was still very fresh and so precious," Kimberly said. "And it was all gone."

Except for a handful of photos.

"It's something that, in the scheme ofthings, seems very meaningless compared to someone losing theirhome. But I've had people tell me, 'My home can be rebuilt, but Ican't have another photo taken with my grandfather who passed away. I can't bring back my child who passed away and this was theirlast picture,'" Kimberly said.

"It's almostlike it's the last thing they have."

The sheer number of desperate requests has been far too much for Kimberly to handle alone.

So it's a good thing people all over the world have offered to help.

Every surface in Kimberly's house is covered in photographs. Photo by Kimberly Ann Photography, used with permission.

Placing individual photos around her house, drying them, scanning them into the computer, then editing and reprinting them is massively time-consuming.

But her inspiring work has traveled far and wide. And others want to help.

"I've had an astronomical amount of people from as far as Australia offer to do Photoshop work for me. These are legitimate professionals. ... In every state in the U.S. someone has offered to help."

But that's just the digital work. When it comes to collecting and drying the photos, Kimberly is on her own, for now. She says she's running out of space in her house and is hoping to find free access to a warehouse nearby to continue her work.

The houses and automobiles of Louisiana will eventually be repaired or rebuilt.

But memories aren't so easy to replace. Playing on the floor of their parents home as a kid or being a wide-eyed teen pulling off in their first car — that's what Kimberly is fighting to save.

"There's no one else here to help," she said. "It's neighbor helping neighbor."

With neighbors like her working tirelessly to make a difference, it's hard not to feel hopeful that, one day, things will be OK in Louisiana again.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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Making a priceless memory

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Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

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