Blogathon for Pearlington

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Katrina's Scope

When I was in Chicago for the CCCC conference, I sat on the airport shuttle next to some people who struck up a conversation about Hurricane Katrina. A woman from New Jersey was quizzing a man who said he was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When I interjected a comment about the ongoing impact of the hurricane, she asked how close I lived to where the hurricane hit. I said I lived in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and that I was right in the middle of the hurricane area. She brushed me off with, “You couldn’t have really been affected there,” and went right back to questioning the guy from Baton Rouge.

To get a sense of the irony and injustice I felt at this, take a look at the wind maps from Katrina. Note that Hattiesburg is in the red part, the area where Katrina was still a major hurricane when it hit. Baton Rouge is not.

Weather Underground Wind Map

Photos From Katrina Wind Map

Even those of us who live here can’t really understand the scope of Katrina. The storm was not just devastating in a limited area. It was devastating and enormous. Damage to the entire Mississippi coastline was catastrophic. Whole towns, including Pearlington, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach and others, were literally washed away. Due to the large number of downed trees, damage was immense far inland. In Hattiesburg, it was estimated that 80% of the houses and businesses had significant damage. Granted, this is not the same as 100% of the houses uninhabitable or non-existent, but it was unprecedented and traumatic and massive enough to change forever the shape of our town.

So when you start to question why the clean-up is taking so long, why we’ve still got so much left to do, why so many people don’t seem to have really been helped at all yet, why the government response has been so inadequate, just stop to consider how widespread the damage really is. Don’t worry if you really can’t imagine. Those of us who are here to witness it can’t either.


  • Hi Sharon:
    What a great job you're doing. I've been estate selling all day. They is great. My name is on Ken & Cathi Short's foundation. I will make a contribution of $25.00 at church tomorrow for your efforts. Thanks for all you do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:31 PM  

  • Anonymous Nell,

    Many, many, many thank you's for your donation and for the work you did publicizing our effort to your church.

    By Anonymous joanna, at 7:49 PM  

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