Editor’s Note: This is a commentary on my impressions of initial relief efforts and response by FEMA, the Red Cross, and National Guard. I wrote it about Saturday, September 17, 2005, but did not publish it at the time. It appears here on-line for the first time.
Some commentary on the response time by emergency crews after the storm passed.
I have online access again today, so I can catch up on real news and do some posts! Many people have asked how to help (in comments to my previous posts) I have spent some of my time these past few days researching relief efforts here.
The week went by in a blur. It seemed that every day we worked all day without stopping, and still it seemed like we had not accomplished anything. We had no electricity and tap water was unsafe for drinking although we did have enough pressure to get wash and flushing water. We didn’t bother to lock our house when we left for the evenings – most anything we could salvage was already outside drying out, so locking the door was pointless. I didn’t even carry my wallet this first week. All I was wearing each day was a pair of shorts or swim trunks, T-shirt, and sneakers without socks. The week was hot, with temperatures in the high 90’s, and I remember coming close to getting dehydrated several times.
My storm-related excitement on Monday, August 29 didn’t actually end with seeing my flooded house. My wife and I had spent the storm with three other families; each family owned a home in the general area. Monday afternoon, after the winds subsided enough to drive, we carpooled in the one vehicle still running to check out the other three houses.
Although Hurricane Katrina was almost three weeks ago, it is not old news for those of us living here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This is the first time I have had enough online time to actually post a diary since the storm passed through. Here is my diary account of hurricane Katrina as seen from Gautier, Mississippi, August 28/29, 2005.
Just a quick report before I shut down my computer and evacuate – probably not to come back on-line for several days at least. It is August 28, 2005 in Gautier, Mississippi, just west of the Mississippi / Alabama state line. Hurricane Katrina is presently expected to make landfall just west of new Orleans, about 100 miles to my west, early tomorrow morning. My wife and I, after much discussion, have decided to stay with friends a mile south of here. The counties to my west, Harrison, on the Louisiana state line, are a mandatory evacuation area. Hancock county to the east of Harrison is recommended evacuation for higher areas, mandatory for low-lying (“A” and “B”). My county, Jackson, is recommended evacuation for higher areas and mandatory for “A” and “B” flood zones.
This is the first of a multi-part series documenting my personal experiences with what has since been called “The Greatest Natural Disaster to Hit the US.”
Just wanted to let everyone know that Winnie will have her visa interview soon! After only a 19 month wait, she is scheduled to have her consulate interview Thursday, June 30, in the morning session. Right now we are scrambling to get all the last minute documents together that we think she may need. We need to show the consulate interviewer we have a “real” relationship, as if somehow waiting almost two years for her to come to the US isn’t proof enough…
Howard Dean was our keynote speaker the evening of March 2, 2005, in Jackson Mississippi, at the annual $75-a-plate Mississippi Democratic Elected Officials appreciation dinner and fundraiser. Governor Dean’s appearance here was part of his Red, White, and Blue Tour making appearances in “Red” states across the US. I had the great privilege of attending this dinner and hearing him speak. This is my account of the evening.