I've been watching the news reports about the aftermath of hurricane Katrina with much sadness. Every station shows footage of the devastation left in the wake of one of the most destructive storms ever to come onshore in the U.S. When I saw video of the people looting in New Orleans and Biloxi I at first felt pity because I felt that perhaps they were hungry, and wet, and needed clothes and food, but after watching for awhile, I noticed that it wasn't only food and a few clothes these people were hauling by the arm loads out of the shops and stores.
Many of the evacuees have made their way north to our doorstep. Every hotel and motel in Eastern Arkansas, Northern Mississippi, Memphis, and many other areas, are full and beyond. The Grand Casino just across the river in Tunica, Mississippi has opened their doors and provided their grand ballroom for as many of the refugees as they can hold. Although safe from bodily harm, these people are running out of funds to pay for food and shelter and they have no idea when they'll be able to return home or even if they have a home to return to.
Although many of the hotels have reduced their rates for the evacuees, there have also been cases where they increased them "to keep the wrong sort of people out". It sickens me. I have to question why haven't they set aside a few rooms to offer these people at no charge? Had this tragedy not occurred they would have the empty rooms, right?
Another reason for my fury is an announcement made on Channel 3 news last night. They had to ask for many of the area churches to open their doors and their coffers to help. They had to ASK, people! There was a time when the Churches would have been the first in line to give aid in a tragedy such as this. What have our southern claims to Christianity become?
I'm proud to be a southerner with a southern claim to hospitality but at this moment I feel so ashamed.