"The Katrina Report"
We had a great lunch
Sun. Apr 25 @ Noon
in John Wesley Hall
Proceeds will go to the Katrina Rebuild
Follow Scott KinKennon's mission trip.
"The Katrina Report" w/ Enchilada Lunch
Sun. Apr 25 @ Noon in John Wesley Hall
A Special Mission Event
We had a great lunch highlighted by Scott KinKennon
sharing his experiences and insights into the Katrina rebuild.
This is likely the last trip to Mississippi for us and roceeds from this meal will go to Katrina victims.
Background on Mississippi
by Scott KinKennon
On August 29, 2005, the most devastating and deadliest hurricane made its final landfall on the Mississippi coastline. Katrina's eye wall passed over the cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland accompanied by 120 mph winds and a 32 foot storm surge. The storm surge penetrated 6 to 12 miles inland, destroying everything in its path. A mile inland, local hotels and the shopping mall all had water up to the second floor during the storm. The damage generated surpassed that of Hurricane Camille in 1969. The people who live in Bay St. Louis and Waveland returned to a landscape so devastated that it was hard to find the lots where their homes once stood. While returning New Orleanians found block after block of debris and utter devastation, MississippiGulfCoast residents often found nothing.
Today, the cities in the region continue the slow process of recovering and rebuilding, thanks in large part to the ongoing efforts of volunteer groups from all across the country, including volunteers with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
This year in April, for the fourth year in a row, I will be part of a volunteer group from the United Methodist Church Cal-Pac conference (Pasadena and Riverside districts) who will spend a week in Waveland, Mississippi rebuilding homes. I’ll be the pack mule for the group -- I’ll drive a truck from California with the luggage, tools, sleeping bags, supplies and other items not to be checked on the plane while everyone else deals with the airlines. It’s a two-day drive each way -- good thing that I really enjoy driving!
When I arrived in New Orleans in 2007, I was given the tour of the destroyed neighborhoods. Even a year and a half after the storm, it was hard to imagine the enormity of such destruction. Pictures didn't do it justice. I had unintentionally left my camera behind for the day but it was just as well. The pictures of the devastation will last forever in my mind. As I drove the 50 miles to Waveland the next afternoon, the destruction continued. I had never been to Mississippi before, so it was hard for me to imagine what used to be there. It dawned on me that I had driven for an hour, and I was not even half way through the entire destruction zone. What floored me was the lack of anything -- trees stripped of growth, vegetation and buildings gone, vacant lots. The final realization was when I saw a contractor's sign advertising "slab removal" -- I lost it and shed my own tears. This was the aftermath of the American tsunami.
The home we worked on in 2007 was a total rebuild of a home originally built almost 100 years ago. The property owner's grandfather homesteaded and plotted out the area in 1915, and named it “Smine” – as in, "It's not yours, it's Smine”. After the storm and the resulting storm surge, the only thing remaining of this house was a few bricks that used to make up the steps and corner of the house. The family found a picture of the old house on a board two lots away after the storm. They did get a percentage check from their insurance company after the storm, only because the insurance company determined that a tree fell on his house. When our group volunteers worked on the house, we finished the drywall mud, sanding and painted the first coat of paint on an upstairs room about 30ft x 60ft. Each return trip, I have made it a point to see the homeowners of “Smine” It is heartwarming to see the progress they are making as well as seeing new friends made in the wake of devastation. Never mind the fact that the house didn't exist anymore – the family is there to stay.
I made return trips in 2008 and again in 2009. Each time my individual tasks were different, ranging from drywall, framing, plumbing, painting, and even taking one day to tune up the camp van. However, the overall task of healing hearts and homes is still the same. The local residents are well aware, very appreciative and supportive of the efforts of the volunteers. Everyone knows that the communities wouldn't be where they are today without the efforts of the volunteers. With each return trip, I am amazed to see the amount of rebuilding and recovery that has taken place from previous years. Yes, there's much more to be done, but there's also been a tremendous amount of progress since the storm. As the locals say, "We're coming back" and so am I. I will be returning again this year.