Friday, December 14, 2018
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How has the disaster affected you?

Members of Minnesota Public Radio's Public Insight Journalism network share their thoughts on the Hurricane Katrina situation.

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'IT FEELS RIGHT'
I had the opportunity this week to buy school supplies for a family that has come to Minnesota after being wiped out by Katrina. My neighbors have offered a house to this family, and fortunately they gave us the chance to help out. While I was shopping at Target for the supplies, I had a casual conversation with someone about what I was doing and she seemed desperate to want to help. I encourage her and everyone else to do so, especially as people are being sent across the country as "refugees." It feels good, and it feels right. Christen Christopherson, Plymouth


WHERE'S ODESSA?

My husband , Wes Hurley , was born and raised in Biloxi, Miss., and he still had an elderly aunt living in Biloxi, besides childhood friends with their families. (we're retired, my husband is 72)His aunt, Odessa Saucier was near 100 and had her little house on Pearl Street in Biloxi -- where she liked to stay when she wasn't taking her daily walks to the downtown grocery or to church (she was a very devout Catholic, we're still hoping she may have gone to Mass and stayed in the church and then perhaps been rescued-evacuated by the parishioners there on the night of the Storm.) We've seen the wreckage of Biloxi. Every house that used to be on Pearl Street is completely leveled. We're still hoping sweet-natured and spritely ancient little Odessa is not beneath all of it.

Meanwhile, the long-time friends, the Munro's of Reynoir Street, Biloxi, have also had to evacuate, first they went to the still-standing hospital that's one block or so from the wreckage of the Beau Rivage, because their house was right across the street from that hospital, but they had to leave at about 7 p.m when their roof blew off. The family (husband, wife, teenaged son and daughter) are all OK, but deeply shaken and traumatized. They're looking for another place to stay, accepted our offer of help (Wes got them a good hotel's rooms here in Pensacola for now, and I'm right now washing and drying the salvage of some of their clothes and linens they went back for the next morning.

In a separate comment, I'd just like to say I think the current Pres. Bush and his entire cabinet are all blithering idiots for having the United States' National Guard out of the nation that needs it, especially now that this nation needs it the most.
Susan J. Lee-Hurley, Pensacola, FL.


A LOST JOB IN MINNESOTA?
I work for a Minnesota-based company that has 15 stores closed in the affected areas. More importantly, we have hundreds of employees that are displaced and need immediate help. Without the efforts of these retail employess, I don't have a job. Next payday, my wife and I are going to donate (to us) a lot of money to a fund that will help these folks directly. It's important for them to know that the company will go on with them, as opposed to with or without them. - Christopher Long, St. Paul


NOT MUCH EFFECT
Personally it has limited effect on me or any member of my circle of friends and family. I expect gas prices to rise.

What concerns me most is that no one seems to be seriously asking the question of our national & regional leaders: should we rebuild New Orleans and other affected areas? Wouldn't it be wiser to provide incentives for people and companies to relocate to more habitable places in the U.S.?
David Tannen, Blaine Minn.


HOW CAN I HELP FROM FAR AWAY?
It reminds me of the time I lived in Santa Monica and was impacted by the earthquate in 1991 and the LA riots 1992. Everything tied to electricity -- bank ATMs, lights, elevators, water pressure. And it makes me thing of 9/11 when I felt powerless and so very sad. I'm still trying to find the right questions to ask that will enable me to do something from here.
Lauren Deutsch - Los Angeles, Calif.


MY SISTER, THE NURSE
My sister is a nurse with the Homeland Security's DMAT team (disaster medical assistance). She is now somewhere in Mississippi working with the survivors providing all sorts of aid. Besides storm-related injuries, there are people who haven't had dialysis and things of that nature. Last night she actually had a bed to sleep in and a cold water shower. She has guards around the hospital to keep them safe. She bravely went, leaving her daughter in our mother's care for two weeks. I'm not sure that I could have gone.
Susan Marsh, Minneapolis


A NEW APPRECIATION
on Monday of this week I suffered a mild stroke. As often happens I was somewhat depressed within the hours following. I am 56, exercise and always believed I was in good health. I was adopted at birth and didn't know that my body contained a hereditary trait which causes the veins in the brain to rupture if your blood pressure spikes. I turned on the television and saw what was happening at the dome in New Orleans and other southern states and realized that I had no business feeling sorry for myself when there was so much anguish for people who also did nothing to cause it. I still have a home, a job and grown children who care for me and I have food and water. I have a new appreciation for the things I took for granted. I know you are looking for more concrete things but I noticed that the heart attack and stoke ward at Southdale Hospital was all glued to the television coverage of the hurricane and there are subtle impacts that are often overlooked.
Judith Johnson, Minneapolis

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