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By: sandcrab39565 , 1:29 PM GMT on January 02, 2009


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Will the history books be accurate? Mississippi’s STILL invisible Coast
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Three months after Hurricane Katrina, the Sun Herald described in a front-page editorial “Mississippi’s Invisible Coast.” It spoke of the fact that the further removed in time we were from Katrina, the less attention outside news reports paid to the plight of our region and its people, and the more it seemed history was being rewritten in a way that would render South Mississippi no more than a postscript to the greatest natural disaster to befall the nation.

Already the trend had begun for the national media to cover South Mississippi’s part of the story with an add-on phrase to the news of Katrina and its affects on New Orleans. We had been reduced to four words — “and the Gulf Coast.”

That trend has become virtually universal now, and during the recent fourth anniversary media assessment of Katrina, the people of “the Gulf Coast” have receded into the hazy status of non-people whose story is untold.

PDF: 2005 editorial 'Mississippi's Invisible Coast'
Story: Dancing down life’s storms
This is troubling to the courageous people whose world was swept away on Aug. 29, 2005, and who have valiantly sought to recover and rebuild while struggling to survive.

Of course it is not possible to watch all of the national coverage of Katrina, but a substantial sampling clearly shows that New Orleans is THE story. It is troubling for those on our Coast to hear how New Orleans was “Ground Zero” for Katrina, or to see images of destruction in Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis or Biloxi shown while a broadcast focuses on New Orleans.

I will repeat the fact that Katrina’s greatest winds and storm surge of more than 30 feet obliterated the Mississippi Coast and destroyed virtually all of the homes and businesses along its shore.

The terrible tragedy that befell New Orleans was the consequence of levee failures impacted by Katrina. Both New Orleans and Mississippi were the victims of the powerful storm, and both have tried to survive the years since with the individual efforts of our two states and the help of a generous nation.

Could the neglect of media to tell our story derive from the belief that everything is fine here, and there is nothing else to tell? It is possible, but were that the case you would think that would actually become the big story — how this poor little state was able to clean up, rebuild and get on with the business of life so quickly.

Wouldn’t that become the model for all other disasters, the living textbook on how to get such a big job done in so short a period?
In fact, a good investigation of our situation would objectively show that a pretty good job has been done. It is a success built upon a long history of cleaning up and rebuilding after many hurricanes, good regional cooperation between local governments, and excellent leadership, from the governor’s office to city halls across the Coast.

Also, it is in the DNA of local folks to tackle these problems with a strain of personal responsibility and energy that is among the best you will find anywhere.

OK, so the fourth anniversary has come and gone, and the Mississippi Coast is more invisible than ever in the media conversation about Katrina.

PDF: 2005 editorial 'Mississippi's Invisible Coast'
Story: Dancing down life’s storms
Let us be hospitable and issue an invitation to reporters and newspapers and networks to come down next year for fifth anniversary coverage. Come stay a while and examine and report their findings as objective observers on the state of recovery in both places, New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast.

The fifth anniversary will offer a good benchmark to gauge how far each state has come, and, to the extent you discover a distinction in the progress between the two, it will be interesting to probe the reasons for the differences, and to report the combined lessons learned.

But beyond the studies of progress, it seems to many in our part of the world that there is an obligation on the part of the national media to get the story right in both breadth and depth.

There have been notable allies over the years, real advocates for our story — we salute Robin Roberts, Shepard Smith, Anderson Cooper and Kathleen Koch, reporters with roots in Mississippi — but over the sweep of time the media have told our story incompletely, if at all, and in doing so have really missed an important chapter in the history of the nation.

After the storm, this newspaper begged for help, we shouted for attention, we did all we could to draw attention to our urgent plight and to gain support for our needs.

Today we are not asking for volunteers to come or for more financial or material assistance, but what we do fervently wish is that history be recorded fully and accurately. Today’s reporting — print, broadcast and online — will become tomorrow’s history texts, and the evolving Katrina narrative is one of neglect toward our story and is increasingly likely to create a false or incomplete history of the great hurricane and its aftermath.

This is a simple appeal to the better instincts of journalism that an effort be made to expose truth, and fairly report the fullness of human pain and triumph in Mississippi and of our stewardship of the national generosity that was given us.

That seems a modest request.

So, before next August 29, come if you can, and let America see the people of our Coast through the lens of your cameras, the ink of your words and the sound of your voice. There is a wonderful story waiting to be heard and told.

Stan Tiner, vice president and executive editor of the Sun Herald, can be contacted by mail at P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535; by phone, 228-896-2300; e-mail, tiner@sunherald.com

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My Response

Mr. Tiner,
I am Butch Loper and was the EMA Director for Jackson County when Katrina struck. I concur with your report 100%. The real part that bothers me the most was that the local voices were completely snuffed out to a degree and the federal and state agencies got to blow their horns triumphantly. I talked with congressional representatives that were doing the investigations and not any of what I or Brian Adams said was quoted in their reports. I toured with them both in Hancock and Jackson Counties and witnessed what they were seeking. The truth was never looked for from the beginning but rather a search to put the blame on someone about the slow response as well as find good points to make things politically correct. The biggest loss of it all is that the true lessons learned are not being used. The voice from the devastated areas are not heard only the voices from the state level that were 200 miles away during the event and slow to arrive afterwards. There is so much that was learned at the local level that is being ignored. Preparedness is the key to saving lives and property but the funding source is not there for that purpose. Yes some funding has been appropriated but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the waste for other politically correct ventures. I hope that I have not bored you to much but I could spend hours talking about the waste, failures, and other things that have not been said but what good does it do anyway as you said we are not heard. I only would hope that someone somewhere in the higher anarchy wakes up and takes notes on what really happened and what could be done to be more prepared in the future. I have one more pet problem that has bothered me greatly and that has to do with evacuations. New Orleans citizens are offered planes, trains, and commercial buses and Mississippians are offered school buses seem an injustice there as well as by the time we evacuate all the shelters are full from the LA. Residents so we pay they play and we stand in the shadows another story for another day.
Butch Loper

Read the link posted below
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Good article
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Minnesota State Fair which
was going to have the 4-H
Choir perform, sent home
dozens of children in the choir
due to
the H1N1 outbreak amongst
the performers.

So much for sausage on a stick
this year.
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Interesting Recovery information. This is closest to the truth of any I have read do date.
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Quoting EmmyRose:
IT WENT GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One day I'm gonna be LIKE YOU

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IT WENT GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One day I'm gonna be LIKE YOU
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Morning Boss - should have been more clear -- caught my waves on the East Coast (prior to Bill's arrival -- he'll probably crank them too big for me)

but now...I'm seeing that Miss Ana -- maybe having a little revival (????) perhaps I'll see something this weekend here at home on the gulf..... would be nice... but I don't want to see you all get rain pounded.

perhaps she'll rev up enough to rock the buoys and the promptly disintegrate
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914. code1
You shoulda minted this way back then! Wonder if they have the machine you do? LOL

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thought about you hope all is well! (claudette)

had a great surf safari - 4 days - all day nothing but sleep surf...& maybe eat
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Good morning Sand,

It's Friday and for most it is almost Weekend!

Looks like we will get some rain this weekend for most of my area.
We are starting to dry out a little now so could use it.

And it appears we must "watch the tropics" once again.

Hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend!

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CHANCE FOR SURF THIS WEEKEND?! A tropical wave is forecast to approach the state this weekend. On the backside of the wave winds are forecast SSE at 15-25knts. If this happens we could see a building S swell on Sunday ridable at the best south facing beaches in the waist high range. EC will also pick up to chest high and choppy. So there will be waves around. Seems to good to be true... We will update with more tomorrow. Next week will be interesting with a possible minimal hurricane headed through the Caribe. One model showing it hitting PR. Hope that does not happen. The verdict is still out on if it will go up the EC or come into the gulf through hurricane alley. Finally something to talk about and some surf on the way for Florida

PSSSST...... getting ready to head over to EC --gotta get some wave -
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