Pray for safety in path of storm

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

The memories of Hurricane Katrina have heightened my awareness of how devastating a storm of that magnitude affects lives.

Although most of us here in Vicksburg only had to endure some strong winds and power outages, we did open our doors to those who were in the direct path of the storm.

Housed at the Vicksburg Convention Center and churches around town, many from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the New Orleans area sought refuge here.

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My husband was one of the hundreds of volunteers who aided those, and I still remember going to the convention center where he was helping and seeing the rows of cots where individuals and families were sheltering.

I know there were some people who had arrived with only the clothes on their backs. Then there were others like the woman I met at a laundry mat who had had to leave her husband behind because he was a first responder.

I will never forget the call she received from him while we were all waiting for our clothes to dry. She dropped to the floor in tears of joy. Her man was alive!

This week as Hurricane Florence makes her way towards the East Coast, thousands have had to pack up and leave their homes, just like the people in Mississippi and Louisiana had to do in 2005.

In the midst of remembering what I saw and witnessed 13 years ago, I began to think about what I would do if I, too, had to leave my home.

What would I take with me? What in my home is most important to save in the event that when I return home, I may find nothing left?

As an evacuee, one doesn’t get the luxury of calling in a moving van and loading up all their valuables. They have to make quick decisive choices.

So for me, and I would image for most, the first thing I would have to make room for is anything of sentimental value.

First and foremost, I would pack up the family photographs, and then I would cram as many of the old school papers that my children had made that I had saved into my car. Then I would grab my grandparents’ love letters I have.

And oh, the videos that were made through the years need to be packed.

Then I would contemplate going into the attic and gathering up the baby clothes I have so carefully tucked away as well as all the special Christmas ornaments.

I’m not sure how much room this would leave for clothes and shoes I would need to ride out the storm.

Lastly, as an evacuee, I would close the door to my home feeling a terrible sadness because I realize I may lose everything I have left behind.

With that thought, I look at the beautiful crystal I collected through the years and the art that hangs on my walls. Then I think about the furniture pieces that I value, especially the antiques that I inherited from family members.

I realize these are just “things,” but still, they hold special memories.  I would grieve the loss.

So for those in the path of this storm, I will pray for not only safety but also fortitude, because there will be great loss and heartache.

But healing will come.

In my first published piece I wrote for the Jackson Free Press, I had the honor of writing a story on the opening of the “Backyards & Beyond” interactive art exhibit presented by my friends, artist H.C. Porter and her collaborator Karole Sessums. The exhibit showcased the resilience of those who lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In my story, I included a quote from one of the voice recordings that accompanied the painting entitled “Holding On.” A woman by the name of Rosemary Pursell had said, “I’m glad to be on this end of it, (meaning the storm) and I’m glad I’m helping to rebuild, that’s the mending part.”

Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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