"Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
And miss her each night and day
I know I'm not wrong...
This feelin's getting' stronger
The longer, I stay away
Miss them moss covered vines...the tall sugar pines
Where mockin' birds used to sing
And I'd like to see that lazy Mississippi...
hurryin' into spring
The moonlight on the bayou....
a Creole tune....that fills the air
I dream... about Magnolias in bloom....
and I'm wishin' I was there
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
When that's where you left your heart ...
New Orleans the city of chords and clefs is the birthing place of jazz. This place where you "let the good times roll" is no longer. New Orleans hit by the devastating Hurricane Katrina nearly two weeks ago, is literally playing "the blues."
It is total devastation. There is no comparison to those other hurricanes. TV coverage shows the raging fires, gun-carrying thugs of distraught evacuees, the lost and the desolate. No home to go to. No utilities, no job, no money, no food, no water. No possessions. Nothing.
The people there said that their faith is what has pulled them through some of the worst days of their lives. This is all that they have now. Many have lost everything else.
On the western edge of the storm, in Baton Rouge, Emily Hanchar Herroman and her husband Burk, are not focusing on the "why" questions. For this couple it is not 'why?' It is "How can we help?"
Emily lived on Winchester Road, is a graduate of Bishop Luers High School and grew up in Waynedale. During the month of May I made a visit to Baton Rouge for Emily's wedding. At that time this town was filled with generous, warm-hearted people. The recent influx of refugees hasn't changed it.
Emily emailed me a few days ago,
"Distressed people are everywhere." "Within just a few days of the ravaging storm hundreds of thousands of people moved to Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. The shelters are full. There are no apartments or homes left to rent and only a few left to buy. People are literally living in their cars, some of them with two or three children."
Presently Emily and Burk have Senator Harry Coates from Oklahoma staying with them. His side job is to work with Walmart and assess the damage. The first night he arrived in Baton Rouge he said he slept in his rental car. There were no hotel rooms left to rent. A friend of Burk's from Oklahoma called and that is how they found him.
Emily's sister Roz is staying with them also until the power is restored in her apartment and the city is able to control the crime. They are using the buddy system everywhere and keeping the doors locked, Emily reported. The University Club, in Baton Rouge, where Emily is the PGA-Golf Pro, is open but they have a guard at the gate and in the clubhouse. They have been closing at 6pm to allow employees to get home before dark.
Today Emily and Burk are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a family from Houston. They were suppose to have been there on Tuesday, "...but with the big challenge to communicate..., Emily emails, "for all they know, they could be in Baton Rouge." "I will keep you posted."
On August 29, 2005 one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history struck the Gulf Coast of this country. The impact of the storm will be felt for months, if not years. In the meantime, let the saints go marching in. The saints that grew up in Waynedale.