Rita Experiences Firsthand

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 27, 2006

Dear Editor,
    My son and I are Hurricane Rita evacuees who now reside in Austin. I recently read the article on Rita [“The Forgotten Storm,” News, Sept. 22], and while I found some points accurate, the majority of it left me disturbed. I disagree with Rita being said to have been "bad timing" because it happened a month after Katrina. When is having a hurricane pummeling toward your town ever good timing? What's being forgotten here is how our experiences from Rita (living hell) could have been so much more catastrophic had it not been for Katrina first opening eyes to some major issues. A good example is how so many from Katrina were screwed when it came to their pets. A lot of them were told to leave their pets at home (which ended in tragedy), and if they chose to bring them, they were turned down for shelter because they had animals with them. By the time Rita came around, policies had changed on evacuees' pets because of what everyone saw transpire from Katrina. Considering I had eight animals with me during evacuation, I'm grateful. Some need to realize that the hardships we faced don't compare to what those from Katrina faced. I have visited Beaumont since leaving, and while you do see damage sporadically, it basically bounced back to the same, if not better. I saw new businesses being developed and job openings are all over.
    I experienced Rita firsthand ... this was not a forgotten storm. These were two different storms! One happened to cause more destruction, fatalities, and displacement. We from Rita all have had a year to pick up our lives. I acknowledge that some homeowners may still be hurting, but it seems that some still struggling from Rita are only suffering because they have become a bit too comfortable with handouts and freebies.
Ellen Wallace
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