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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Little Rock Rocks Big!

Just this afternoon, we finally got to talk to our friends, the "Vanderbilts," formerly of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, more recently of Little Rock, Arkansas. It was WONDERFUL to hear their voices. Some of you have asked for updates:

Good News: They have been in touch with people who have seen their neighborhood. Their house appears to have minimal damage. The people of Little Rock continue to be amazingly good to them. Thanks to local churches, they haven't had to spend a dime for a meal. The Hampton Inn where they are staying has drastically reduced rates, with no end in sight, for all the Gulf Coast evacuees. The movie theater has hosted a movie night just for them, everything free. Someone organized a bus trip to the zoo for the children, all free. They continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of everyone they've encountered in Little Rock. They are with some other family members there, and they know where most of the other family members have gone -- Lafayette, Orlando, Houston.

Bad News: They don't know when they can return home. There is no electricity, and no prediction for its return. Even when it is turned on, all the vacant houses must be checked, have all electrical things turned off, to prevent electrical fires in the damaged homes. This will take a while. There is water and sewage, however, the treatment plants, pumping, etc., are operated by electricity, so once people return and start using water . . . well, gotta get that electricity restored first. There are some stores open within a few miles of their neighborhood, but looters are still going through the homes in the neighborhood. All of Shelley's family has lost their homes and all their contents; one uncle remains unaccounted for. Shelley's 82-year-old father has stopped speaking -- apparently PTSD. Her mom cries about the loss, not of their home which her husband built with his hands, but of their "Wall of Fame," the wall covered by framed photos of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. There is no word yet on Parran's job, or Star's school. For now, they are not available. And finally, Parran tells us that, according to the people they've been able to reach who remain in the area, the news media is not reporting the worst of the stories that are going on there. He believes the death toll will be up to 5,000 people. Reportedly, hundreds of people drowned in the schools in which they were instructed to gather for sanctuary.

And yes, they know and we know, how incredibly blessed they are to have had the means to leave when they did. And to have a home to return to. Some day.

11 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger eclectic said...

So glad for the good news! Every little bit of positive is reason for celebration at this point. And I'm grateful for your good example on the use of "evacuee" -- I'm determined to be careful about that myself now, thanks to swlf.

Blogger LadyBug said...

Thanks for the update, Susie.

It's all just so, so sad. But yes, what a blessing to have their family safe.

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

I'm so happy to hear that they have a house when they can return. I saw a lot of musicians today who have homes and families in New Orleans, and I am amazed by how they can put on these brilliant performances when you know their minds have to be a lot farther south than Detroit.

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

I am glad they are being treated well.

Blogger Kitty said...

Wonderful entry Susie! It's great to hear that they have an affordable place to go to with places for the kids to be... well, kids! I hope your friends find some retreat from the pain of their own depite all that has happened to them. Well wishes!

Blogger Susie said...

eclectic, so true, there's not much good news being reported, I'm delighted to hear some. I wrote a post for tomorrow, part of which explains the "evacuee" distinction. Words are important.

ladybutt, I know, but the first t was a legit typo, and the second t I just thought would be cute. You're welcome :) Shelley told me she had not cried until today! Then she cried most of the day. Unlike moi, who has cried most of the week.

bucky, I can only imagine that music is one of the few things that can take one's mind away. Like the man says, "Give me the beat boys, and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away . . ." It really does work, you know? Thank God for music.

kranki, yes, I am so very thankful for that. Actually, I wrote an email to the Little Rock newspaper, thanking the people for being so kind, and they said they're going to publish it this week. I REALLY am grateful.

kitty, thank you. I have been especially worried about "Star," about the same age as my LG. They said she's doing great. They don't let her watch any of the news.

Blogger mrtl said...

I'm so happy for your friends, Susie. It sounds like they were truly spared.

The news is getting more and more disturbing every day.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very happy to hear that your friends are safe. I hope they find that Shelley's uncle is okay.

I'm trying to find hopeful stories from the storm for my blog. So far, there aren't many out there.


Blogger JessicaRabbit said...

Glad your friends are well, I cant imagine not knowing where I was going next, that is such a scary thought. At least they have each other and a friend like you.

Blogger Squirl said...

Glad to hear your friends are surviving. So much loss but at least they're together. I was overwhelmed with everything that has happened but managed not to cry until I heard a man on the radio yesterday. During the flood he couldn't hold onto his wife anymore. She told him to let go and save himself and take care of the children. All I can hear in my head right now is that man saying, "She's gone! She's gone!"

Blogger The Lioness said...

So happy your friends are alive, Susie, so so happy.


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