Public Meeting with Mayor to Address Drainage Problems

Sunday services are something members of Forrest Heights Missionary Baptist Church have learned not to take for granted.

They know carpet cleaners can silence the sounds of worship as quickly and as easily as a hard rain.

Reverend George Rouse said, "It's very discouraging when you don't know for certain as to whether or not the doors of the church are gonna be open. As to whether or not the members of your church and the community are going to have a place to sleep, a dry place to sleep."

Last September, Tropical Storm Isidore gave an unwelcome donation--more than a foot of water. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison flooded a church Reverend Rouse says has endured too many years of frustration.

"When the Mayor sees first hand what we have to endure, I'm praying to God that it will prick his heart to do everything that is within his power to remedy our problems," he said.

Rouse said the visit will be the first time he and his congregation have had the chance to talk face to face with Mayor Combs about their drainage problems. The pastor intends to make the most of it.

"By no means am I saying do I approve or condone the statements of the Mayor from about a month ago, but that has nothing to do. Even if I centered on that, we would still have a flooding problem," Rouse added.

He said creating an open dialogue with the Mayor is a big step for Forrest Heights, but more importantly, it's a step forward for the community.

The town meeting with Mayor Ken Combs is scheduled for Monday, May 5th at 6:30p.m. at Forrest Heights Missionary Baptist Church in Gulfport.