Skip to comments.Wasn't There a Hurricane Named Rita?
Posted on 01/25/2006 5:24:52 AM PST by Muleteam1
MANY IN LA., TEXAS LAMENT RITA 'AMNESIA'
By DOUG SIMPSON Associated Press Writer
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) -- A steady procession of congressmen and U.S. senators have visited the Gulf Coast this month, inspecting Hurricane Katrina damage. But they didn't show up here, one of the places devastated by Hurricane Rita, Louisiana's "other" storm.
Four months after Rita caused $4.7 billion in damage, people in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas say they're concerned the storm has been erased from the country's memory, overshadowed by Katrina's assault on New Orleans. While New Orleanians fret about "Katrina fatigue," people here say they've been victims of "Rita amnesia."
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(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...
My husband and I went down to SW LA in October and helped with the recovery. It was bad down there.
It's all about New Orleans....the city that thought it was immune to hurricanes (other than the drink).
But Katrina was a Chocolate storm. Rita was more shrimp gumbo. That's why.
Even though the month-long power loss for the 3 Big Counties (Palm Beach, Dade & Broward) was tough for many too acclimated to it, JESUS took good care of us all.
Same complaints are valid for Wilma. Thanks for reminding us.
Thank you for your assistance and kindness.
That's what I have always heard. It's been a while since Texas and SW Louisiana were slammed by a major storm but they seemed to handle it fairly well.
Indeed. Although...I hven't been informed much as to the Southwestern portion of Louisiana until now.
The strange thing about Wilma is that it totally disrupted life down here in South Florida for at least a couple of weeks yet almost nothing about this was reported in the national media. Fortunately, most of the damage was loss of electricity and damaged roofs but there was incredible DISRUPTION down here for that period.
Simple question to answer.
SW Louisianna and SE Texas are red areas on the map.
Mayhap because there was "nothing" to be said that could involve mud-dumping on Governor Jeb Bush and/or President George W. Bush.
It could be because I think Beaumont is in Jefferson County which is a lawsuit filing heaven in Texas for the Trial Lawyers.
I'll bet. There were huge trees blown down over homes and debris everywhere when I was there. My sister's home at Silsbee lost several large trees on their property but luckily all blew away from their house. They lost their patio roof and the roof on their storage barn but I believe they have (mostly) settled with their insurance already. They are uncertain what they will do with the huge caverns in their lawn underneath the upturned tree rootballs, that is assuming they are able to ever get rid of the huge things. My small tractor could not budge these heavy rootballs.
I can relate factually how Rita victims have been overlooked from the federal to the state even to groups that are supposed to be helping the victims of hurricanes.
My Mother-in-Law was in ICU in Beaumont Texas when Rita was coming on shore. FEMA evacuated her out via the Air National Guard. It took almost a week before we found her. FEMA, the hospital, the Guard, Red Cross etc did not have a record of where she, and thousands of others, was taken. Once we found her, in Georgia, we had her moved to our home as soon as she was medically stable. This is where the REAL problems began.
My MIL is 100% disabled, wheelchair bound with end-stage renal disease, CHF, uncontrollable diabetes, parkinsons, and almost total neuropathy of her lower extremities. I flew to GA to meet her, flew her back to Miami where we had an ambulance waiting for her to take her to our local hospital for observation and release. We had made prior arrangements with a local doctor to direct admit her.
During FEMAs move, all of my MILs hospital records, identification, clothing, Medicare/Medicaid cards were lost. None of the medical facilities where she had been knew where they were. What should have been a simple admit into the hospital turned into a 4 hour ordeal with the hospital refusing to direct admit her since she did not have ID or her insurance cards. HOWEVER if she had been a Katrina evacuee policies where in place for those missing ID etc. Finally, out of frustration we took her to the Emergency room where they could not refuse to treat her. Its a good thing we did. Upon acceptance into the ER we learned she had pneumonia and was in the beginning stages of another heart attack. A simple observation turned into a 14 days hospital stay.
While she was in hospital we tried to get copies of her ID and Medicaid/Medicare cards. Not even the State of Texas had provisions at the time to handle those affected by Rita. To get copies of her state cards, we were required to have a notarized copy of a Power of Attorney faxed to the state. Not a problem if we could have found a notary that would make a trip to the hospital AND sign a POA without her ID. Finally my FIL, still in E. Texas was able to get us a duplicate of her drivers license using the POA he had. With this ID we were able to get her Medicaid/Medicare IDs. Problem solved right? Not on your life.
Once she was discharged she was placed on 21 medications not including insulin. I could not find a single pharmacy that would fill them for her. After spending an entire day and most of an evening calling various pharmacies throughout S. Florida; even as far as the Orlando area, I still could not find one that was willing to bill Texas for her scripts. CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, etc etc all had provisions to bill for Katrina victims, NONE for Rita. We paid out of pocket for her first month of drugs. $1474 later she had her medications. We were told by a Social Worker at our local hospital to get her on Florida Medicaid. However, Florida has up to 45 days to accept an out-of-state Med/Medicare patient. If she had been Katrina, the switch was automatic.
After a lot of screaming, calling of Govs offices, local reps and even my towns Mayor, she received Florida Medicare 32 days later. I guess that is better than 45.
As of this Sunday my MIL is stable enough to finally travel back to Texas. Ive made reservations to fly both of us and I will return late Sun night. American Airlines has a discount for Katrina victims to fly home. This doesnt apply to Rita. Her original flight to S. Florida was slightly over $800; this flight is almost $600. Money weve paid out of our pocket with no way to get reimbursed from anyone that we are aware of. Of course we are paying everything without much complaint, after all she is family and you have to do for your own. I just cant describe how frustrating it is to learn your family member isnt eligible for assistance because the particular hurricane she was a victim of wasnt as news worthy.
I apologize for the length of this post and even with its size I could go on and on with other problems we encountered getting her needed medical equipment, finding doctors to accept her as a patient, trying to get any assistance from the Red Cross (they would not do a single thing to help her) etc but Ive bored you enough. Are Rita victims forgotten? Youre damn right they are and my MIL is living proof.
I don't know: tell me, does Lake Charles have a race-baiting, loud-mouthed black mayor?
I didn't think so...
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And yet, it was the Vieux Carre that remained high and dry.
So much for what "everyone knows," eh?
I have not heard or read one article about the gulf coast ports.
HURRICANE RITA-- archive of links
various FR links & stories | 09-21-05 | the heavy equipment guy
Oh, bless your hearts. I'm so sorry this happened to you and yours.
And muleteam1, too. I totally sympathize.
I finally had five uprooted trees removed from the yard last week after being in line for two months. All but the roof has been repaired; another wait in line.
People affected by the storms are most often referred to as --Rita "survivors"; Katrina "victims."
I'm going to get a T-shirt that says "I survived Rita and, so far, Katrina victims." Our crime rate has gone up thanks to Katrina victims.
bunp for later
You will find me posting at odd hours of the night, thanks to my Katrina victim neighbors. This morning it was horns honking at 4AM, after all night loud arguments out in the front yard till probably 2AM (a nightly event). I had my finger on the 911 redial for the longest time, but in the end, didn't use it (again).
The crying baby that sounds exactly like a tomcat screaming for its datemate is the worst of the lot. Eight hours or more per night without a let-up. Two entire families who never heard of closing their doors or sitting inside instead of on the porch. Of course, all they have inside is a huge big-screen plasma TV and 6-8 air mattresses.
But we're Texans of the Year, ya know!
I'm sorry to learn about your MIL's fall. It seems the older a person becomes the less able they are when it comes to handling changes in their life. Even small changes can have a negative impact, huge changes, like a hurricane brings can be devistating.
I'll keep her and your family in my prayers.