Two years later, evacuees still remain

Published 12:48 am Friday, July 13, 2007

Almost two years have passed since hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the Gulf Coast.

The FEMA trailers still litter the coastal areas, and the blue tarps are still easy to spot if you go south. New Orleans isn’t rebuilt, and the people have not come home.

Two years has not been long enough, but for many in the Miss-Lou it might as well have been a decade.

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After what seemed like forever at the time, our area’s eight shelters closed a few months after the storm. The large mass of evacuees left. Our lives mostly returned to normal.

But it isn’t normal for everyone. Our area still has evacuees who lost everything. They blend in now. And they aren’t sleeping on the floor at the Steckler Center, but they are still here.

Two years later the chance for a helping hand from the state government comes to an end this month. Hurricane victims interested in applying for the state’s aid program Road Home must do so soon. If they qualify applicants will receive grant dollars up to $150,000 to reconstruct their houses.

The program is a stark reminder to the rest of us that life isn’t normal for many. Hopefully evacuees in our area are on the road home — even if home is now the Miss-Lou.

We welcomed the coastal residents in August 2005, and we’ll continue to help them make their new home for years to come.