City again showed resilience, caring, selfless attitude in response to Katrina

Published 10:56 am Friday, August 28, 2015

This editorial published 10 years ago in The Vicksburg Post. The significance of its words was a reflection of how our city has always responded to those in need. When Hurricane Katrina blew through Vicksburg downing trees and power lines, our locals came together for one another, and they rolled up their sleeves to help our neighbors to the south. This was Vicksburg at its finest.


Many Times in its history — and long before the “Red Carpet City of the South” moniker adopted, Vicksburg — the people of Vicksburg have been called on to shelter refugees. Probably the longest period of time was in 1927, when the city’s bluffs became encampment sites for tens of thousands fleeing low-lying areas during a record rise on the Mississippi River.

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This time it was different.

As hotels, motels, shelters and parking lots filled with weary travelers from Gulf Coast areas, they were safe from the worst perils of Hurricane Katrina, but as Gov. Haley Barbour, said this is a “statewide storm.”

Indeed, Katrina could be considered a giant tornado, with winds up to 150 mph, tracking straight up the Pearl River Basin and wide enough to be felt from Vicksburg to Meridian and beyond in both directions.

Vicksburg is not alone in being accommodating to travelers. Many communities open their homes, buildings and hearts to people fleeing danger.

Every time it happens, we are amazed not only at how quickly and responsibly public agencies and utilities mount responses, but how private citizens get involved and “do something.”

Monday, we told the story of sisters Lee Baker and Lisa Kapp who, with several other Bowmar Baptist Church members, saw crowds gathering in the early-morning hours at all-night diners, gas stations and Wal-Mart. They rode from place to place, informing people where shelters were open and guiding in caravans.

“I just couldn’t sleep knowing all these people were out there, so we started going to places right off exits and lining eight or nine carloads up at a time and going to shelters,” Baker said.

Most evacuees find shelter with relatives or in commercial accommodations, but about 1,200 in Vicksburg alone were checked into eight shelters and, we’re told, locals delivered supplies all day.

Lisa Baker and Lisa Kapp did great work, but they were not alone.

“Pay It Forward” was a popular movie a few years ago. It’s theme was the power of good will; good deeds are best acknowledged by doing good deeds for others. Vicksburg has been blessed in many ways. Faced with Katrina’s wrath, many here showed their resilience and willing to say thanks for the blessings by sharing them with others.