It’s our role to be ready, willing to help

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 29, 2008

Cars are flooding into town. Natchez Market is out of water, bread and flashlights.

The Red Cross is opening shelters. And gas prices have mysteriously shot up over night.

It is Aug. 29, 2005, and Hurricane Katrina just struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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The levees in New Orleans will break soon. Those who evacuated to Natchez will be stuck here, some for more than 40 days.

But it is not Aug. 29, 2005. It is Aug. 29, 2008, and we may very well be in the exact same boat.

As we remember the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Gustav is bearing down. It’s too early to know exactly where he’ll land, but Natchez is already feeling the effects.

Katrina taught the coastal areas an important lesson — run.

And as a result, all Natchez hotel rooms, many bed and breakfast rooms and even some private houses are booked. The crowds are coming, and we’d better be ready.

Perhaps it is a bit premature. The panic seemed to start early this time.

But the lessons of Katrina are only three years old, and we have not forgotten.

Now is the time to prepare. If history stays true, Natchez will not suffer much damage. We will only be given an opportunity.

Tragedy on the coast is our chance to share, care and open our doors and hearts to those who need us.

Take the time now to make sure your family is prepared, and — if need be — let’s be ready and willing to help other families too.