Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and Rural Communities

- from the University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Journalism's Rural Blog

Rural communities hit hard by Katrina wait in shadows; despair abundant

In an example of the often cited government maxim, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease," rural communities hurt by Hurricane Katrina are taking a back seat to more populous areas, where the demands are loudest and most nationally visible.

In a story datelined Pass Christian, Miss. -- ground zero for the infamous 1969 Hurricane Camille -- San Antonio Express-News staff writer Jeorge Zarazua details all too familiar images of desolate and destroyed lives left by a storm that has established herself as more destructive than Camille: "A shirtless Dane Rabalais unloaded bags of ice ... from a neighbor's truck that had pulled into his front yard. Lizzy Lynn, whose home was destroyed by Katrina, washes her clothes on the beach."

While President Bush toured the destruction that Katrina wrought in Biloxi, about 20 miles east, many residents in this rural coastal community of fewer than 7,000 leaned on each other. Loretta Lizana's family opened their home to neighbors who lost everything. Thomas Drake, 58, left boxes of water at the local fire station before he evacuated eastward to Pensacola, Fla., reports Zarazua.

Even though Army National Guard supply trucks arrived Friday, many didn't carry water or food. Rural communities in southern Mississippi have been hard hit, and unlike in Biloxi, Gulfport and Pensacola, there seems to be little progress in restoring electricity. Desperation, however, is in abundance.

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  • At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The stories about how rural people were effected will be the last ones we hear. But we need to hear them.

  • At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Hollis said…

    Stories of rural Americans, during disaster or not, are usually overlooked because the media (and I have been part of it for my entire adult life) does not understand it. It does not wish to. It is spread out. It is foreign to most reporters headquartered in urban areas and, frankly, is expensive to cover. Blogs like this help. So do people who advance rural issues by sending emails to national media.


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