Mississippians Continue To Pour In For Texas Storm Victims

By Toni Miles - bio | email

SAN LEON, TX (WLOX) - It was an emotional site as the 'TrailGrazHers' pulled into storm-battered San Leon, Texas last week. Many of these South Mississippi women know what it's like to lose everything to a hurricane.

"Did this take all y'alls cars out with it?" asked TrailGrazHer Ashley Schloegel.

The resident answered, "It took a lot of them."

More than a thousand people lost their homes during Ike. Mike Cox is one of them. A ferry boat narrowly missed his house, but the storm surge was another matter.

"When it made its scene, it dislodged this big thing (the boat). I'm sure it's like this all across the coastline," Cox said.

The destruction throughout the small town of about 6,200 people is massive.

"This looks like Waveland and Bay St. Louis looked after Katrina went through. It's a catastrophe here," said San Leon resident Gator Miller.

That's not the only similarity between San Leon and South Mississippi. A good number of people here make their money off the water. The fishing and shrimping industries have now run ashore. But this is a town that pulls together.

"Everybody who's got a skill is doing what they know how to do," Miller said.

Signs throughout the area echo the messages of those scrawled throughout the lawns of South Mississippi after Katrina, declarations of resiliency, warning, and of course, humor. Like the coast, people in this self-sufficient small town, believe they were overlooked by the national media, as coverage focused on nearby Galveston and Houston. And though self-sufficient, they are well aware it won't be easy to pull off recovery on their own.

"We definitely need outside help," said resident Terry Loutham.

The good news is some people have been exposed to the plights of the people in San Leon. Since the TrailGrazHer's trip, two 18-wheelers full of supplies have been loaded up and will head to San Leon on Monday, and the Diamondhead Fire Department has nearly filled up another 18-wheeler full of donations.

As for the residents of San Leon, those who have decided to stay are doing what they can to get back on their feet, while opening their arms to outside help. Collections at the Diamondhead Fire Department will continue until the 18-wheeler is full.