Two years ago, my homeland was hit by the worst natural disaster to ever affect the U.S. Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. I was born in New Orleans, as was all my family, and grew up just across the Mississippi state line in Picayune, about 45 miles northeast of New Orleans. Biloxi was 45 miles to the southeast. We were about 25 miles from the coast as the crow flies. Katrina came through and her eye passed right through my hometown, dumping 5 trees into my Dad’s house. On September 2, I led a team of around 30 to Ocean Springs, MS, where we established and ran a Red Cross shelter. Some of our folks moved down there and have not come home. They continue to help people rebuild through a ministry that our church helped start called Pathfinder Mission. You can read all about the eleven days that changed my life in a series of posts that I wrote last year called Katrina Remembrances.
I have been home many times in the past two years. Things seem to be coming back, albeit slowly. People continue to struggle and the nation’s attention has moved on. Of the billions and billions of dollars that were approved for rebuilding in that region, very little actually ever made it down there. Even less made it into the hands of homeowners. There was a lot of flash and many promises, but people have mostly been left to their own devices through whatever aid and insurance that they can piece together. The Church has helped tremendously and people have taken notice. I still grieve and I still pray. I hope that you remember as well.