New Waveland Cafe Thursday, September 15, 2005: |
Imagine a community that probably looks a lot like yours, it's banks and grocery stores sitting like hollow ghosts, monuments to nature's destructive power, their insides washed away in the tidal surge. The storm surge reached as high as 30 feet in this part of Mississippi. All the buildings around here were completely submerged in a fetid brew of saltwater, sewage, death, every toxic chemical, and the detritus of the land dwellers. The place is so toxic we use a case of bleach in the Cafe every day. Children should not be here but many have no choice.
I come from the Rainbow side of the Cafe. We call ourselves REMA, Rainbow Emergency Management Assembly. We're here to serve, listen, and inspire. We work 16-20 hour days and hope some more good volunteers show up soon. We just feed whoever shows up, give away everything in our Wall Less Mart (Where Everything is Free), and lend an ear when needed. I don't know how long we'll need to stay here; but a lot of folks absolutely depend on us.
The world forgot to notice that coastal Mississippi was annihilated by Katrina. The next town to the east of us, Bay St. Louis, lost 70% of its buildings. It looks like everything "below the railroad tracks" will be bulldozed and rebuilt. Recovery efforts were well under way by the time FEMA noticed that most of the buildings in coastal Mississippi were missing. We understand turf battles have severely slowed recovery efforts in Louisiana. We're not equipped to deal with politics. But we are equipped to feed and comfort these marvelous, ordinary folks like you and me living in a place not unlike your town, look them in the eye when they thank us, and reply, "You'd have done the same for us."