October 17, 2005
I feel I owe it to you who have been reading my words to catch you up on all, and too much has happened. Briefly, I will tell you the couple UUCJ sheltered in their RE building is going to move back to NO even though they have lost all of their furnishings in their apartment. Their landlord is renting to them another apartment as soon as he gets it repaired, and then will begin to overhaul theirs. We are going to help them as we can with rent money and furnishings. A member of UUCJ and her husband gave them a car to replace the one car-jacked from them. The 71 year old man that also was sheltered in the church has returned to Biloxi. His apartment is okay, but he says so much around him is ruined and destroyed that it is hard to do his everyday things. He has asked if I could help him get some teeth if anyone would like to take that up, they were lost because of diabetes, not Katrina, but it would be wonderful if he did have the thousand for teeth. I don't have it.
Last Saturday UUCJ and Our Home congregations joined the Gulf Coast congregation in clearing their lot of downed trees. When we left there was a mountain of brush along the street for pickup and many hot, sweaty people feeling like they had done something good, a good feeling. (there are photos on MSD site also) While there I took the opportunity as did several of us to see the damage on the coast of Mississippi which has been closed to the public.... Waveland, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis and Diamond Head. It has been difficult inland but I must say it is surreal along the coast in Mississippi. Areas are swept clean by the surge and beyond that well, I saw a handbag hanging in the top of a tree where the water put it, cars, boats, pieces of houses everywhere. There are a little further in houses damaged but with people living in them. There are tents and trailers scattered around. They still don't have power or water I was told today. Help is in the form of tents pitched on parking lots passing out food and needed items. If some of you are very self reliant and wish to help, I surely believe they need your help.
Creative thinking has reached a new low with those of us involved, so it has been very difficult for me to imagine how to help you help those in MS. If you are considering something, the Gulf Coast may be where you are needed. The people that have come, stayed in my little house in Moselle, MS and found their way from there have done best. I have not been able to "line them up," etc.
Annette Marquis, of the trauma team, worked at the Red Cross shelter in Hattiesburg, I worked in the shelter in Jackson, and Rev. Martha Munson reached out to the Gulf Coast fellowship, Rev. J.D. Benson of Berkeley flew into Jackson and ended up in Baton Rouge working in the Red Cross shelter there, as well as Rev. Carlton Smith who went to Moselle then to Baker, LA to the enormous FEMA trailer park there.. There are FEMA trailer parks in many of MS's Water Parks, meaning they have lakes and trailer hookups, but I only know of three sites for sure. Those in the parks have needed sheets, domestic stuff, but they may have gotten that by now. I don't seem to be able to do much.
A group going to the coast could stage out of my place, bring sleeping bags and a towel, and "hook up"as possible where you are needed. Do not expect folks in Baton Rouge to put you up they are swamped as well as the church. Martha found she could rent a car at rent-a wreck in Hattiesburg, Annette found one at the Hattiesburg/ Laurel airport . I received some contact information from JD today, she spoke with Pete and Fay Jones, I believe he is retired Episcopal priest:. They are working out of a tent in Waveland across from the now famous police department, distributing stuff. I plan to get down there Thursday with some fruit and can openers, but things change so quickly what is greatly needed one day is not needed the next. One could shop in Hattiesburg or Laurel after arriving and take stuff down.
I feel in a way as if I am punting, but if I can help get help to the people where we have no congregations by my location that would be good.