#TBT 2005 Newsletter Volume 44

As I looked through past newsletters, columns and television segments to find today's throwback, one in particular caught my eye, because it had to do with a hurricane. Since Harvey has water-logged parts of Texas and Louisiana, and Irma, the most powerful storm recorded in the Atlantic, is still active in the Caribbean, the newsletter Nancy wrote after Katrina seemed appropriate.

If you happen to be looking for ways to help those affected by Harvey, NPR has published a piece with a list of organizations providing aid. The organizations are grouped by the intended beneficiary of the donation, so if you want your donation to specifically help a certain group (e.g.: children, seniors, animals, medical), you can find an organization to give to. The NPR piece can be found HERE.

Irma is still an active hurricane, and a comprehensive list of charities and organizations to give to has not been compiled. NPR's latest piece on the storm can be found HERE.

I grew up in Gulfport and have vivid memories of Hurricane Camille. I was 10 years old when this storm ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We stayed in our house, which is about 2 miles off the beach. That was one scary night.

When I heard where Katrina was heading, I called my parents in Gulfport. They live in the same house, and their response was, "Oh, we made it fine through Camille." I called my sister in Ocean Springs. I heard the same line.

Monday morning, I got a call from my dad. Their power had been off since 2 am, and they were hungry for news. Where was the eye? How fast was the windspeed? Were they past the worst? The news I reported to him was grim.

We didn't hear from them again until Tuesday. The wait was unbelievable. Phone service was limited and sporadic. We played a game of relay, passing on news to other members of the family throughout the country.

My family is fine. Their houses are intact, with just minor damages. My parents finally succumbed to the heat and made the trip to Clinton. Katrina convinced them. They'll never ride it out again.

This past weekend, we drove my dad back down to Gulfport to check on my sister, several of his friends and neighbors, and to deliver supplies. We were stunned by the damage.

The economic impact on the country was immediately evident, as we searched for gasoline. Drilling operations in the Gulf have taken a hit, and this showed up at the pump within hours.

On a state level, the tax revenue from the casinos disappeared overnight. Cuts for all state functions are inevitable.

But as we traveled the entire length of the Coast, I thought of the impact on local economies. Many of these people no longer have jobs. How will local school districts rebuild, and who will pay the staffs in the meantime? What about the thousands of small companies that are gone? What happens to a center of tourism when there are no tourists? Shrimpers with no boat. Hotel clerks with no hotel. Shopkeepers with no shop. Waitresses with not a table in sight.

Now, they are glad to be alive, but it will take a serious economic injection to help them survive.

--Nancy's New Perspectives newsletter, Volume 44, September, October 2005


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