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3X More Katrina ‘Victims’ In Trailers Now

More tales of woe from the DNC’s Associated Press:

More Katrina victims living in FEMA trailers than in ’05

Nov. 22, 2006, 9:05PM

Three times more victims of Katrina are living in FEMA trailers this holiday than in ’05


CHALMETTE, LA. — Cradling an 18-pound turkey, Hurricane Katrina victim Nancy Prattini hauled groceries from her minivan, preparing for her family’s first Thanksgiving dinner in their cramped FEMA-issued trailer.

"It won’t be the same, but nothing will be the same anymore," said Prattini, who is making dinner for 12 today.

Nearly 15 months after the hurricane struck, the number of Katrina victims who will be spending Thanksgiving in FEMA trailers this year paradoxically be far higher — roughly three times greater — than it was last year.

The reason: Many people who were living with family members or staying in hotels at government expense last year have since moved out or been evicted. But they have been unable to return to their homes because they are still waiting for their houses to be repaired, their insurance to come through, or the water and electricity to be turned back on. Or they have yet to decide whether to rebuild at all.

More than 99,000 families in Louisiana and Mississippi are living in FEMA trailers, compared with about 34,000 last November, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Biloxi, Miss., resident Jessica Lessard and her family are spending their second Thanksgiving in a FEMA trailer, but things will be different this time: FEMA just sent her family a spacious three-bedroom mobile home to replace the tiny camper they have been in for the past year.

"Thank God," Lessard said. "We can actually walk around, and we have a dining room table. It’s really nice."

Many of those who spent Thanksgiving in trailers last year blew the fuses while cooking or had to eat in shifts around the tiny tables. So some are making different arrangements this year.

"We’re going to Disney World," said Jeff Howard, who is rebuilding his flooded home in St. Bernard, La. "We’re not dealing with this again."

James Gonzales, a firefighter in St. Bernard Parish who also has a bigger trailer than last year, said his wife and two children are bringing their Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings to the Chalmette fire station, which has a full-size kitchen.

"I’ll be on duty, and it’s easier to cook there than in a trailer," Gonzales said.

They are in good spirits because they know this will be the last holiday in a trailer, Gonzales said. They are scheduled to move into their newly rebuilt house by February, he said.

"I’m just grateful that I have a house to fix up," he said. "It could be worse."

It’s not clear whether the AP has decided this is deplorable or not.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, November 23rd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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