Months later, couple learns son died in Katrina
Some people just don't get it.
One hundred square miles of devastation.
Karen Rhodes of Ottawa walked along the 17th Street Levee in Mississippi, St. Bernard Parish, La., and the streets of Waveland as a Red Cross disaster relief volunteer.
She can still see the gutted hotels and houses, and the sea of tents serving as temporary homes after Hurricane Katrina leveled whole communities.
It's been months since the hurricane hit, but the smell of death still looms.
"People just don't get it sometimes. This disaster is of such a huge magnitude, of biblical proportions, massive devastation, that goes on for miles and miles," said Rhodes, who spent three weeks traveling through both states, delivering meals to those in need. Rhodes' shelter of 200 volunteers delivered about 32,000 meals a day, using Red Cross emergency response vehicles resembling ambulances.
Rhodes left for the trip in October -- just two months after she signed up for several disaster relief courses. CONTINUE
Mountain Area residents tell their stories as they return from the country's hurricane disaster areas
(Updated Friday, November 18, 2005, 9:49 AM)
April Follette of Ahwahnee recently returned from a trip to Louisiana with the Fresno/Madera Red Cross. Her trip was sponsored by Sierra Pines Church of Oakhurst.
While in Louisiana, Follette met two victims of the Katrina and Rita hurricane disasters and brought them back to the Mountain Area. Martha Graham, a 75-year-old woman of average height with red hair and blue eyes that show a glimmer of her tough life, and a three-legged black Labrador, named Bayou Black, are now members of the mountain community.
"I met Martha in a homeless shelter," Follette said. "A shelter in a gymnasium at Nickel State University in Thibodaux, La.," Follette said. "I was working in the shelter and there were a lot of people who had lost everything and needed supplies and started asking for Bibles. Sierra Pines had sent me with a case of Bibles and that is how we initially met."
Writing Community Unites to Write “Stories of Strength” for Disaster Relief
As they watched the coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, writers
who had gathered on the AbsoluteWrite.com message boards decided not to
sit by helplessly any longer. Instead, they set their pens and keyboards
to work-- writing uplifting essays, short fiction, and poetry on the
theme of “strength.” The result is the 316-page anthology Stories of
Strength, with 100 percent of the proceeds to go to disaster relief
charities, including the Red Cross, Americares, and the Salvation Army.
Headed by Jenna Glatzer, author of acclaimed Celine Dion biography For
Keeps, this project attracted contributions from many well-known
writers, including a story and an original hymn by award-winning science
fiction novelist Orson Scott Card, an essay by famed actor Wil Wheaton
(Star Trek, Stand By Me), and a short story from Christian romance
author Robin Lee Hatcher.
With more than 100 pieces from writers all over the world, and the
gracious efforts of prominent editors and graphic designers, Stories of
Strength is a tribute to the human spirit: celebrating true stories of
courage and endurance in challenging situations that range from the
death of a child to living through natural disasters, to smaller-scale
trials, like dealing with returning an overdue book to the local Library
Longtime blogger behind meryl's notes (www.meryl.net/blog/), Meryl K.
Evans of Plano is one of the writers whose work was chosen for the
anthology. Her essay, "My Quiet Relationship with Dad," is about the
strength she gained from her dad's gentle support in her leading a
normal life in spite of her deafness. "What Jenna Glatzer has managed to
put together in such a short time is nothing short of miraculous, and I
am honored to be a part of it," says Meryl. "I don't typically write
stories as I write about business, technology, and the Internet. It was
a wonderful opportunity to help people in need."
Alternating between tear-jerking and humorous, Stories of Strength is
guaranteed to inspire and remind readers that the human spirit knows no
“Many people have said they plan to order copies for everyone on their
holiday list,” says Jenna Glatzer. “What a fantastic way to give a
present that also helps people rebuild their lives.”
The writers hope to turn their words into sizable long-term
contributions to disaster relief charities. In addition to the writers’
donations, publishing company Lulu (www.lulu.com) is generously donating
its profits from the project. Lulu will also donate several media review
Most writers are available for interviews, readings, and book signings.
Ordering details are at www.storiesofstrength.com.
The book is available direct from Lulu, and available to order from
bookstores worldwide soon thereafter. Review copies are available upon
request. Let us know if you prefer a PDF file or a printed copy.
Stories of Strength
Editor/Publisher: Jenna Glatzer
Publishing services provided by Lulu
Release date: November 1, 2005
6.0 x 9.0 in., Perfect-bound, 60# cream interior paper, black and white
interior ink, 100# white exterior paper, full-color (CMYK) exterior
Meryl K. Evans
Content Maven for Hire
Writing :: Editing :: Copy
http://www.meryl.net/blog/ - blog
P.S. Have you subscribed to meryl's notes
<http://meryl.notifylist.com/meryl_net.html> or eNewsletter Journal
By Christy Oglesby
(CNN) -- Early this week, Deanna Thomas got the phone call she needed but never wanted. Morgue officials had the corpse of her 3-year-old daughter, Shenae Green.
Forecast models have moved Hurricane Rita landfall a little more eastward then previously predicted. I am not surprised - call it an intuitive hunch. I think Louisiana is going to take a beating from this storm. Schools are closing Friday here in Baton Rouge. Decision on the LSU - Tennessee game is being made as we speak. This morning I woke up to low swiftly moving cumulus clouds - they were so low I felt like I could touch em. The tops of the trees were swaying. This afternoon dark clouds moved over & we've started to get some rain. With Katrina we were on the west side of the storm - we got very little rain & the wind didn't even start to blow until she had almost made landfall. We are definitely feeling Rita's outerbands. I sent Tommy, my husband to Home Depot this morning to fetch a generator. Tonight I'll go finish up my grocery shopping & other storm supplies. I want to be prepared.
Just now my daughter Kendall and I went to Walgreens. I was standing in the one hour photo line when a lady asked me where the closest grocery store was. I asked her if she was from New Orleans and she said yes. I looked at her sympathetically & said "I know you're ready to go home". Her eyes teared up & she said "We don't have a home. We lost everything". I said "oh, I am sorry. How are you?" She said "I was okay until"...and then her voice cracks and then she breaks open...she says "I was okay until I went up to the bank to deposit my money and then they wouldn't take it because they said it was contaminated"...and this woman starts crying hysterically - Even my daughter who is a pretty tough little gal began to tear up.
it's like to this woman, the idea of her money being contaminated made her feel contaminated - the whole scenario just encapsulated her grief. I wanted to find out what bank wouldn't take her money - and is this insensitive? - couldn't the bank do something with this money or to help these people? - like couldn't there be some kind of quarantine center where they could take in the contaminated money & replace it with non-contaminated money? I just can't imagine.
Folks there are so many dimensions to this disaster you'd never even think about. I just can't imagine a second major hub along the Gulf Coast is going to enter the fray. How we will meet the challenges of this next round of storm aftermath? We can't meet the challenges & demands of one Katrina - I don't see how we have enough hands, hearts & resources to meet another catastrophic hurricane. Folks are standing for hours in the heat just trying to get Red Cross debit cards. The bodies still haven't been collected out of New Orleans....There are people still in shelters...
On another note, as I was leaving Walgreens, I saw that the contaminated- money- lady had gotten her pictures and there was a nice little group of Baton Rougeans standing around her, sharing a look at her pics, and giving her support. The lady looked really loved in that moment. So the good news in this whole catastrophe is that I have never seen such an outpouring of love from people both near and far. It has really restored my faith in humanity. No one of us can get through this time of crisis but all of us can.