Congressional Staffers See Post-Katrina Progress - - The News for South Mississippi

Congressional Staffers See Post-Katrina Progress

Some Congressional staffers were in South Mississippi Tuesday to see first-hand the progress South Mississippians have made since Katrina. The group toured several different areas and talked with volunteers helping with rebuilding efforts.

"It made me feel really good because I feel they were listening to what I had to say and they were happy to be here," said AmeriCorps worker Rebekah Brown.

The new Operation TLC Volunteer Center in Pascagoula was the first stop on Tuesday's tour.

"The intent is to help them understand so they can share with others the impact of what volunteers have been in this area, and what the ongoing needs area are," said National & Community Service worker Kathie Ferguson.

The next stop was along Pascagoula's beachfront. The staffers saw reminders of Katrina's destruction, including roofs still covered with blue tarps.

"I think it's a total of 13,000 in Pascagoula, Moss Point, and Escatawpa that had water," said Pascagoula resident David Kilbern. "We have a lot of unmeet needs in this area of town, and this is a focus we really need some people to take notice of."

The group also saw signs of life and hope. In Gautier, they came across three new Habitat Homes sitting side by side as workers prepare for move in day.

"If you guys want to take a tour, go in. It might be dirty, but it's part of construction," Habitat for Humanity Chapter President Latan Griffin told the group.

While the tour showed a mixture of advancements and setbacks post-Katrina, organizers are hoping it encouraged the staffers to get the word out about the need in South Mississippi.

"I think it is important for them to know the need is not just going away. The message has to be much broader on the national scale," said Ferguson. 

"We still need people. We still need cash, volunteers and new materials."

By Patrice Clark

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