Letter to the Editor

First-hand reports from Katrina

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

EDITOR'S NOTE -- A link on the Gazette's Web page,http://mccookgazette.com, solicited e-mail from readers with first-hand connection to hurricane victims in the south. Here are a few of the responses:

Trenton native

Dear Editor,

I am a former resident of Trenton, Neb., now living in a small town within 40 minutes north-east of New Orleans, La., in Picayune, Miss.

The eye of Katrina went directly over our town, but not until we felt 150-plus m.p.h. winds. Our town suffered major structural damage with many trees blown down onto homes and businesses, but for my family, we were extremely fortunate to have gotten away with what appears minimal roof damage from the wind and some minor water damage. Many people we know have suffered much worse.

It's been nearly a week since Katrina rudely blew through here. I have been able to be in contact with my family and they know we are alive and well. Our lives have been fully interrupted and what we thought was normal is far from it.

Waiting in lines to get water, ice, and sometimes fruit has become my daily duty. The National Guard has made their presence known in a big way here with many helicopters flying in and all kinds of military vehicles on the roadways in our county.

We do not have electricity, save for our generator that we have to run sparingly. Our telephone service is intermittent at best. We have some water that comes to the house now, and we boil that to make sure all is well with it. We are trying to take showers every couple of days. I cannot tell you how lucky we are to have the pleasures we do have. If I have one complaint, its that the south is very hot and humid and sleeping at night is difficult at best.

We do not have the mayhem that the cities of New Orleans, Gulfport, and Biloxi have seen. Their destruction is mind-boggling. I worked in a town that was just off the coast, in Bay St. Louis, Miss., which is approximately 20 miles from me as the crow flies and the town there is virtually wiped off the map.

They received the infamous "east" side of the storm which is the last place in a hurricane you want to be.

We have a local radio station that updates us and gives us information on the rest of the world, as well as gives us info on where to go for FEMA help, where the ice can be found and what gas station might be open. People wait for seven hours for a tank of gas here.

Our local paper was distributed at a water and ice station today. Inside it there was a story about Beatrice, Neb., adopting our town. I was able to get a few minutes here online and I always check the McCook Gazette and saw this link to the Editor and thought I would answer it with this little letter stating what we are experiencing and how some things are down here.

We had a trip planned to McCook late this month for my niece's wedding and hope to still make it for that. So to all family and friends back in the Trenton and McCook area, we are very much alive and well and eternally grateful for our lives and what we still have.

Take care everyone and know that this former Nebraskan sends best wishes and love to her family and friends.


Tammy Schoenauer Pearson

Picayune, Miss.

Word from Houston

EDITOR'S NOTE -- The following combines two letters, one sent Friday and another sent Sunday:

Dear Editor,

I own an oil and gas Field six miles west of New Orleans. We are next to the Motiva Refinery and the Valero Norco Refinery in Norco. I chartered a helicopter on Wednesday and flew from Houston to New Orleans to survey the damage in our field. We sustained very little damage. The flood waters (we were inside the levee ... bad for us) reached only 5 feet. As far as field damage goes, it was best case.

As I am typing this, we are attempting to return our natural gas wells to production to send to the Motiva Refinery. They need all the Natural Gas they can get to light their pilot lights to restart their boilers so they can make gasoline. They can process 245,000 barrels of oil a day, so they need a lot of natural gas.

The six refineries that I personally saw, sustained little to no damage. The river traffic on the Mississippi is a different story. The barges and ships are starting to stack up about 15 miles up river from New Orleans.

As for New Orleans itself? It looks like buildings in Lake Poncetrain. The entire lake has moved six miles inland.

New Orleans didn't have the worst damage, not even close. I have friends in the oil business that have sent me pictures of shore bases in Venice. That is 65 miles south of N.O. The entire town is still underwater. The fear as that erosion has occurred and the gulf has moved inland 5-10 miles.

I have a consultant that lives in Waveland, Miss. We have not heard from him yet.

An eerie side of all of this is the Vendors and Royalty owners we pay that have New Orleans addresses or Biloxi addresses. We are holding their checks for now. What do you do about them? We can only pray.

The mayor of Houston is asking the faith based community of Houston to raise and feed the Hurricane Victims in Houston. We will need to raise $1.2 million dollars a week to feed 25,000 a day. This is basically $5 a day to provided a hot breakfast, box lunch and hot supper.

If people want to help this could be a great way to help. My church, St. Martins Episicopal Church is the coordinating church for this event. I could get you info on people to send checks.

Actually, I am a good friend of Pete Graff and Maybe MNB could collect the money and send it to Houston.

Just a thought. I know that people all over the country want to help.

Wallis Marsh

(713) 870 4327

Houston, Texas

MHS '85'

Extex Operating Co.


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