Home » Society and Culture » Causes and Organizations

The Long Way To Come Home from Katrina

Aug 4, 2008
Sometimes as little as twenty eight feet to the FEMA trailer - where the breadth equals height of the storm surge. Sometimes across the lot, others across town, some across the State, others from fields afar. No matter where they evacuated to roost safely in the interim - it's a long way to come home in the aftermath of Katrina

The process is slow, the paper work repetitious and tedious, the resources of money, manpower and materials are elusive, and no one size fits all as the backup plan i.e. insurance was not all it was meant to be due to all that fine print, convoluted legalese, and the lawyers chasing the ambulance round and round the courthouse.

Confusing the picture of normalcy is the fact that the business district, for the most part, has the appearance of thriving with its shiny new signs, asphalted parking lots, and flashing lights. From the French Quarter to I 90 down thru Waveland to Bay St. Louis - it all appears to be thriving and business as usual. Truth is that it is no more thriving normalcy than a back lot movie set constructed of facades with doors leading inwards to braces, fortifying grids bolstering up the props hiding the remaining debris being overgrown by re-growth thriving on the Katrina sludge and the summer rains.

Back behind this business corridor the ravished homes still remain, most gutted by now, standing stark next to the crispy clean FEMA trailer and the trailing sewer lines running across the lot until they find the old entrance to the sewer. Dotted amongst the gutted homes is the occasional success story - built from the 401K, the kindness of the faith based groups, savings, or creative financing. 12,000 FEMA trailers were sent back to FEMA. More than 34,500 FEMA-provided temporary housing units in Mississippi are still occupied. To date, a total of $9.1 billion in disaster aid has been obligated to Mississippi since Katrina struck, Aug. 29, 2005.

The enormity of the destruction dictates that only a few can move forward. The rest are waiting on government grants to make up the difference between the shortfalls on insurance, or the lack of insurance and FEMA grants. In Mississippi 17,000 applied for the Phase I grants months ago with the promise of streamlined payouts unlike the Federal debacle of tardy FEMA payments. Now FEMA can stand proud compared to the State of Mississippi's sequel - months into the program and only 175 checks have actually reached into the hands of victims. The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) spokesman up and left (I would have left also out of embarrassment), the various elected officials lambasted the MDA with using a multitude of adjectives that can not be used in polite company. The elected officials grandstanded, plotted, planned and schemed and screamed at the media - but these Federal funds are under the direct control of the Governor and not the legislature. And the Governor does the soft shoe shuffle when ever the media ripples the languid waters of the MDA.

So the funds slip into tedium and lethargy as does progress behind the closed doors on the facades we have built up. The larger of these facades is the lack of flow of information to the nation as the media retreats to other stories of more interest to a fickle public dependent on the entertainment of the flash in the pan of the nightly evening news and paid advertisement that demands an interested audience to which to market their sundry ware of toothpaste, mouthwash and shiny fast cars. And behind the closed doors of those facades languish thousands of families.

And if, in fact, all 15,500 grants destined for approval were released tomorrow - the bulk of those people would be placed on another list as there are not enough volunteers to build these thousands of homes. In Hancock County, the Hancock County Long Term Recovery Committee has about 46 cases on file - with only one completed at this time. Why - lack of money and, most importantly, volunteer resources?

No one has been marketing the disaster - not the federal government, not the governor, and not the faith based groups. That takes a special kind of marketing peculiar to the national media and without the support of the news media - it is going to take money and a marketing crew. Show me one grant set aside to cover marketing funds.

Outcome: people are going to be put on more lists for labor and will have to wait years for volunteer assistance. The grants from Phase I, after all, is only going to cover costs of materials. The volunteer pool is dwindling no matter the occasional hype of the local feel good news and the three minute footage.

It is going to be a long way to come home here in Mississippi in the aftermath of Katrina - even if it is only a 28 foot walk from the FEMA trailer to the front door of the refurbished home. It has been a long hot summer - and the winter of despair destined to be long. Who is going to market this disaster in order to fund all our resource needs? Volunteer manpower being the one of the forgotten resources along with the much needed continuity and quality control of paid construction coordinators, and administrative assistants, to keep on top of that all important paper trail.
About the Author
Kathleen Johnson is a long term volunteer who has been working in Mississippi since just after the storm. Currently Kathleen is working at the City of Waveland City Hall under the umbrella of the Waveland Citizens Fund a 501(c)3 as the Director of Katrina Relief.

http://www.wavelandcitizensfund.org
Email: KathleenJohnson@wavelandcitizensfund.org
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 348
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources