Oprah Tues, Feb. 21, 2006

Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:46 AM
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I didn't see the show, but I have family that has been relocated (how's that for a term) because of Katrina.

My aunt was offered a FEMA trailer to be set up in the driveway of her damaged home (basement flooded, about 3-4 feet of water in first floor). But she turned it down for now because she would be on a generator and wouldn't have hookups for water/sewer. Too much for her to deal with at her age. She is living several hundred miles away right now and would like to return. What the insurance company is offering her is a joke. No way is it anywhere near the damage amount. Lost everything in basement and first floor. House needs to be re-wired, re-whatever else, plus needs new appliances, furniture, everything.

Cousin did take the FEMA trailer because he is rehabbing his condo in town. But, the entire area might be turned into a park. Who knows what will happen. FEMA trailer, though better than a tent, isn't the best solution. At least his neighborhood has had utility groups come through and made hookups availalble.

Also, it's hard to find licensed workers (electicians, plumbers, etc.) because they have been hired by the corporate buildings. The workers like having a long-term job and I don't blame them for taking it. Maybe even some of the large companies are offering housing. If you have those skills the people of NO will welcome you.

It is a long, long road the people of the area will have to go through. I still can't decide what is worse -- a flooded out house that still stands, or no house at all.

Local tv news was in Waveland, Mississippi earlier this week. Emergency services (police, fire) are working out of trailers with donated equipment. Town lost all cars, computers, radios, etc. in the storm. Workers living in tents but vow to stay on the job. Worst crime they say is dealing with the transient workers.
ncgrrl is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:51 AM
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Thanks, Renee. I am glad you had an accurate answer to that question.

As a resident of the Katrina ravaged area, I am grateful to any and all that keep this in the press until folks who need help and would receive help, get it. I did NOT want politics to enter into this discussion, nor did I introduce that topic, but I guess it'd be difficult to keep it out.

Ncgrrl, thanks for bringing out so many more important points. There is no easy solution, but people in the most devastated areas still need help. Wouldn't every American citizen want to know the country was behind them to recover if a disaster occurred at your house, just like the country came together for 9/11? As bad as 9/11 was, at least they had the full support of citizens and government alike. The deep south has seen a lot of fighting and name calling at every level, and somehow the PEOPLE are being forgotten in the mix.
BayouGal is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:56 AM
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On a different note, I was impressed with the work churches have done in the affected area.

I took a group down in January and worked through Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Ocean Springs, MS.I am not Lutheran, I have no ties- I was really impressed that a church of 250 has organized and mobilized forces and is now running an off site clothing/food/personal supplies warehouse, a free medical clinic and was feeding, and housing 282 volunteers the week I was there.
We mucked out houses, cleared debris, rebuilt fences.

People were incredibly kind, and grateful.

Some of the college kids I took are now doing power point presentations about the extensive damage that remains after 5 months.Before our trip we had no idea that it went on for miles and miles.

I've done other work trips but have never experienced anything like Katrina.

Oprah's show reinforced what we had seen and learned.
eileenleft is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:13 AM
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Since we are lifelong residents, we have friends all across southern Mississippi and Louisiana. Everyone in the area will attest that church groups have been the saving grace from the very beginning. A group of lumberjacks came down from New York and stayed at our church for a week right after the storm. They were the first to help us personally, and we see them as our salvation in those beginning days without electricity or water. They cut and stabilized about over 100 yellow pines trees we had down and covering most of our property. They were so dangerous, we had no idea how we'd even get them off our house. Many church groups have come from all over the US to clear out flooded homes, and now groups are roofing and hanging sheetrock. I don't know where any of us would be without the churches in this country. God bless all those volunteers who so graciously gave, and are still giving, of their time and money. Places like St. Bernard, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, the 9th Ward of N.O. and others still need so much help--hopefully new groups will be encouraged to come and help.
BayouGal is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:22 AM
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It needs to be added that southwest Louisiana was devastated by hurricane Rita and has suffered the same kind of devastion as the Mississippi Gulf coast, however that area is not as populated. They have not recovered, and like ncgrrl's aunt, are having to live hundreds of miles away and do not yet know if they can rebuild or must move away.
BayouGal is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:25 AM
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Having lived through Hurricane Hugo and how it nearly destroyed my family's home, I can empathize a bit with what these people are going through.

Shock! We had no flood insurance! Our regular homeowners insurance would not pay!

We had to rebuild with a low/no interest rate loan from FEMA.

Yes, my family had to pay again for our home which we owned outright.

It has been almost 17 years that we went through this with the insurance companies so I can't believe no one would have flood insurance.

I guess my point is that it is so easy to blame Bush, the government, and FEMA for what they aren't doing but what about all they can do?

What about some of us taking a little bit of personal responsibility?

Many people did just that.

I have lived for weeks without electricity and running water and yes it does suck. However, I was greatful there was help.

There. My two cents.
Feb 22nd, 2006, 12:15 PM
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I gave as much money as I could to Habitat for Humanity and Mercy Corps, but as a citizen of a first world country (or so I once thought), I expected my government to take care of the infrastructure and basic shelter.
Church people and individuals were amazing, but...
& again, I am to blame for bringing in politics, but I'm just completely befuddled as to why people don't blame the Feds.
Maybe I'm old fashioned and believe that what Franklin Roosevelt did for folks in the depression could be done now for those in the south...but I'm obviously in the minority. Sorry.
Little_Man is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 03:35 PM
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Hugo did so much damage to such a lovely area. The southern coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama were beautiful, too, and I hope they recover as well as your area has, GoTravel. I don't think the question of flood insurance came up before you mentioned it, but since you did maybe you need more facts . . .MANY people here have both flood and homeowners insurance, and have yet to see a dime. Most ins. companies are busy declaring bankruptcy if they have not already done so. Sure, there are laws that say they must pay, but as the saying goes, you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip. As the retired president of the federal flood insurance commission put it on CNN, Congress will have to come up with the money because the flood insurance program is an outdated federally backed program. So in essence, the blood is coming from the government. Also, we've been begging FEMA for years to come in and remap our area . . . we have seen MANY contractors build in low areas that should be considered wetlands. If that had been addressed, a very large percentage of those affected would never have lived in those areas in the first place.

I don't think this should all be a government tab, but the HUGE amount of government waste and mismanagement we are seeing after Katrina is mind boggling. If they just corrected a small percentage of that mess, it would more than pay for new levees and other infrastructure needs. And it's not just federal, it filters all the way down to the lowest levels of local government. I guess it is so obvious with Katrina because it has affected such a large area and such a large population of people--unfortunately some of our nations poorest, and they've gotten a lot of air time. But GoTravel is correct--this is happening all over our country, to the rich, the middle-class, and the poor. There must be some way to strike a balance somewhere in the middle of this and handle these crises better than we are.
BayouGal is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 04:01 PM
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JJ5, I took my own advice and reread your posts. I think I agree with most of what you are saying more than disagree.

Thanks for the input, everyone--whether any of us agree or not!
BayouGal is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 04:13 PM
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GoTravel, I am not anti-government. I think that the administration has worked very hard and is very limited by programs it inherited, as JJ5 put it, from as far back as Huey Long and LBJ. It's just hard to see so many tax dollars being basically poured down rats holes of mismanagement, outdated programs, and embezzling. I agree that people should be proactive. We certainly have been by taking care of our family, our relatives, and helping our neighbors. And when we get caught up, our priority is to go help another neighborhood that is still in need of assistance. None of us can make it through things like this without each other.
BayouGal is offline  

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