Blogathon for Pearlington

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What if it Happens Again?

Without fail, people who come through Pearlington to work or deliver supplies or just to survey the damage end up asking, “What will happen when the next hurricane hits?”

The answer is nobody knows.

It’s certainly a valid concern that we could be doing all of this work and spending all of this money only to have it all blown away again. Nothing like this had ever happened before in living memory or in recorded history, but it did happen once, and there is no guarantee it won’t happen again.

It’s a valid worry, but one we can’t afford to let sidetrack us. We can’t leave these people without hope regardless of how uncertain we are of how long our help will last.

There are, I think, a lot of people around Mississippi and elsewhere who don’t want to put the money into rebuilding. Let the Coast rebuild the Coast, they say. They don’t want their taxes and insurance to go up to pay for the high risk of other people living on the waterfront.

Maybe those are valid concerns too, but the fact remains that we have hundreds of thousands of people who have nowhere else to go, who have known no other home, and who need our help to start over.

In Pearlington, it would be an especial travesty if the locals could not rebuild. Pearlington remains one of the few places along the coastline that has no real commercialization. The end result of abandoning the families to whatever befalls them would be something like a casino buying up all of the love, pristine backwoods property and building up a resort community. I, for one, don’t want to see that happen. I, for one, would like to save as much of the Mississippi I have grown up knowing and loving as possible—despite the risks.


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