Hurricane Katrina: 10 Years Later

This was the post I intended to post today but those Shell fires keep flaring up. If you look around Lumberton, you cant help but wonder what happened? People come to a small town thinking they're going to enjoy a friendly, welcoming community. But if you're looking a sweet smile and hometown hospitality, you better avoid city hall and stop at the Lumberton Public Library or Bancorp South. Lumberton wasn't always this divisive cesspool of bitterness, disdain towards customer/citizens and heartless political figures. If you wamt to remember a time when neighbors, including those serving at city hall, cared for one another you need to travel back to August 29, 2005; the day Katrina hit.

Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on Mississippi and Louisiana. Mighty oak trees snapped under the mighty winds of Katrina. Houses were destroyed, businesses closed, streets littered with debris, power was out and gasoline was in high demand. Just recently, I heard complaints about who suffered more, Mississippi or Louisiana. We all suffered. I remember all the damage but I alxo remember the way neighbors looked out for one another. Katrina hit before everyone had smart phones, before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. People relied on word of mouth to find out about the water distribution, the financial assistance that was distributed at First Baptist Church in Purvis, the ice staions in Ramey's parking lot and the food and tarps that were given out at Bass Memorial Academy. I remember we all found out about MRE's.

I remember going to city hall after the storm and Mayor Dorman Davis, Joann Ladner, City clerk, Alderwoman at Large Miriam Holder, Alderman Stankey Rayborn and Alderman Terry Cannaday had a command center set up in the board room. I remember the police officers staying at city hall around the clock. I also remember Rev. Perry Holder, Alderman Quincy Rogers, Mr. Bob Toney and the late Mr. Robert Holder of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church riding through the community, checking on eveyone and delivering ice. Ice and bottled water was essential. We lost power but we still has gas and I remember neighbors coming over in the morning to cook because their homes were total electric. We would spend the day outside, cooking early and taking a lot of showers. I remember sitting on the porch, after going out for supplies, reading books and greeting people walking by. We would spend most of the day taking care of essential needs because at night we stayed in the house, watching the flickering of candles and listening to the National Guard patrol on their four-wheelers. There were many hot nights but each morning you would be thankful for another day. Eventually, the power was restored and soon afterwards we stopped sitting on the porches, closed the doors and windows, turned on the air conditioning and started drifting apart...once again. The damages from Katrina were devastating but the aftermath showed the resilience of the human spirit. There are those that focus on the damage caused by Katrina but I recall a time when Lumberton cared for one another. What do you remember about Hurricane Katrina?


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