Twelve years ago Tuesday, Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast and changed our lives forever. In past years, the Sun Herald marked Aug. 29 by writing about the storm and the recovery of the Mississippi Coast.
But as the Hurricane Harvey catastrophe unfolds in east Texas, we believe that would not be appropriate this year.
We have not forgotten how it felt to see lives and homes washed away. We remember how it felt to clean our houses or remove the debris that was once a home and begin to rebuild. We remember the long lines for essentials such as food and water and how it felt to be unsure if there would be enough of either to go around. We remember the guilt felt by those of us who suffered little or no damage and wondered why we were spared and not our neighbors.
We remembered how we mourned the loss of the Coast we loved and the fear of an uncertain future. We remember the support that poured in from across the United States, not just from the federal government, but from churches, civic clubs and people from all walks of life who responded.
And, we remember how far we’ve come, how our uncertainty and fears ebbed as we rebuilt. We remember the relief we felt as businesses and homes returned to the Coast.
But we see the photographs and videos from Rockport, Port Aransas and the small towns strung from Corpus Christi to Houston and we ask you not to forget the despair you felt as you worried that help was not on the way, how you felt to be cut off from the world and how it felt when it seemed we had been forgotten.
And this disaster is far from over. The storm headed back out over the Gulf on Monday and appears headed to a second landfall at the Louisiana-Texas border. In Houston, the fourth largest city in America, we don’t know the extent of the damage and may not know for weeks how much that great city lost.
We know there were tens of thousands chased from their homes by flooding and countless homes lost to rising waters. Officials estimate it will be weeks before many across Texas are able to return home. Tens of thousands more have homes but are without power. An untold number fled the storm and are unsure when they’ll return.
And the rain continues to fall.
We believe the best way for the Mississippi Coast to commemorate Katrina, is keep those in the path of this storm and its aftermath in our thoughts and prayers. And we need to ask ourselves, “What can I do to help?”
We can write checks to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other relief agencies. It likely will be days before there is a need for volunteers to flood into Texas but, eventually, thousands will be needed. Our people are especially qualified to help because we have lived through such an overwhelming disaster.
We know some people will need just about everything to rebuild their lives. We know billions of dollars in relief will be necessary.
And we know that it will help if the Texas Gulf Coast simply knows it hasn’t been forgotten and won’t be forgotten until it once again thrives.
So pause and remember Katrina, then begin thinking about what you can do to help those in Harvey’s path.
The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own