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AP: Thanksgiving Hits Katrina Victims Hardest

Another entry in the never ending saga of the indomitable human spirit, from the DNC’s Associated Press:

Hurricane Katrina survivors face grim Thanksgiving

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Debbie Shifter faces the daunting task of whipping up Thanksgiving dinner for 18 in the tiny kitchen of her FEMA trailer.

Shifter, who lives in Bay St. Louis, Miss., had to drive 45 minutes to find a Wal-Mart that survived Hurricane Katrina. Downsizing the ingredients to fit her compact oven, she will serve a 13-pound turkey instead of the usual 20-pounder. Because of a lack of counter space, she will do the chopping and dicing on two wooden TV trays in her living room.

Guests will eat outside at a plastic table on her lawn, or in shifts at the kitchen table. Dinner will be served on paper plates with plastic utensils.

"We done lost everything we owned, just about – except for us," she said, standing next to the ruins of the larger trailer home she once called home. "We’re going to stick together at all of our holidays."

For many across the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast, this is going to be a grim Thanksgiving.

In New Orleans, where death and destruction still hang over the many empty streets and ruined neighborhoods, Eldon Robinson’s thoughts are on his five pieces of storm-damaged property, not a Thanksgiving Day spread.

"I’ll be eating no turkey," said Robinson, a 64-year-old landlord, as he picked up bottled water from a food distribution point. "I can’t afford to buy no turkey."

Instead, he will work on his damaged roofs, kick himself for dropping insurance on his rental property before Katrina struck Aug. 29 and wish his family could be together. His wife is going to north Louisiana, where their two daughters live.

Some hope the holiday season will help people in this hurricane-ravaged region reset their moral compass.

Volunteers, celebrities, churches and aid organizations are rallying to serve meals to the tens of thousands of displaced and penniless victims.

"I want to feed those who are homeless, out of work," said Heidi Bruno, a 47-year-old Slidell woman who is homeless herself. Her home still has no power, and she and her 30-year-old son have been staying with friends in New Orleans for the past month.

On the weekend after Thanksgiving, she will serve up food at her Pentecostal church. "I don’t know what we’ll be feeding them," she said, "but it will be hot and a blessing."

Albinas Prizgintas, a pipe organist at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans, said: "Despite the fact so many people have lost so much, there’s a sense we have so much to be thankful for."

Imagine having to serve a 13 pound turkey instead of a 20 pound one. Having to drive 45 minutes to do your shopping. The horror!

And someone should tell Mr. Robinson that turkey goes for about 25 cents a pound this time of year. You won’t find too many other foodstuffs that are cheaper.

But then again, it sounds like Eldon’s going to skip eating altogether and just work on his roofs. He’s too proud to eat with the rest of his family.

It’s all pretty damned heartbreaking, isn’t it? Why isn’t the government doing something about it? I mean, besides spending umpteen billion dollars for hurricane relief.

And where are the Veterans For (A) Peace? You can buy a lot of turkeys for $350,000.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005. Comments are currently closed.

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