Sunday, June 24, 2007


A few weeks ago I hinted at a Big Project.
Enough waiting: The Project has culminated.
Dr. Scott has left the building.
Or rather, Dr. Scott has closed his doors. His practice is no more. He has had enough, and has left the Gulf Coast.

Some of you reading this blog admired me for staying. Staying wasn't about courage. It was about caring, and hope; nothing more. I still have my caring; indeed, if not, I would have left Mississippi long ago. In fact, that was the only thing keeping me, and it was a damn big thing, almost trumping all else. But the hope has gone.

I'm writing this to explain my actions, not for my own defense, but to give you some insight into the Gulf Coast, post-Katrina. To give insight as to what would make a pediatrician committed to his community finally leave, as to how even hope can be extinguished.

To let you know how much we have failed the Gulf Coast, and how this country as a whole (and especially its leadership) has given up on any pretense of caring. And I use "failed" in the past tense. The damage has been done. Indeed, that is probably the biggest reason why I decided to leave. If no one has come to help yet, and no one is planning to help, then no one will be helping in the future either. (Apologies to those individuals who did come, and gave time and sweat; I hope it's clear that my ire is dedicated to the greater government and the "compassionate conservatives" who support it and believe we on the Gulf Coast just need to hoist ourselves up by our own bootstraps and stop being such ignorant, lazy, greedy whiners.) We had so many chances to turn things around, to set it right. But instead we are condemning New Orleans and Waveland, Mississippi to poverty, third-class status, forever mired in what the rest of the nation thought they were like anyway; ah, the self-fulfilling prophecy. We have doomed a entire generation of children and we have crushed their chances of normalcy, of resiliency, of trust.

When George W. Bush spoke in New Orleans days after Katrina, he promised to do whatever it took to set things right. He gave us hope. He didn't have to say those words. He could have expressed sympathy, mentioned that "the nation stands with you as you rebuild," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But instead he promised action. The terrible tragedy would be met with just as equally awesome a recovery.

Perhaps the only thing worse than no hope is false hope. Hear me out: no hope leads to reasonable expectations. No one is coming; make your plans accordingly. False hope, on the other hand, encourages you to go to the brink, even over it. I may be near the end of my rope, my finances, my energy, but at least the cavalry is coming. Until you finally realize that it isn't. And then it's too late, and the anger comes forth.

Debate all you want about Iraq and if Bush lied about what he knew and how we ended up in that quagmire. I know this: Bushie lied about helping out after Katrina. A year and a half after Katrina we learned what many insiders knew all along. He had the authority to waive the Stafford Act's requirement of a local 5-10% match for recovery efforts. It was waived, by executive order, after Hurricane Andrew. It was waived after 9/11. Not for Katrina.

5-10% may not sound like much. But for Waveland, it was. When 90% of your housing is damaged, it's too much. When every component of infrastructure needs rebuiling--sewer, water, electricity, roads, government buildings, police and fire, should we keep going?--it's too much. When you no longer have a tax base to speak of, it's too much.

Ah, we should have just called it quits at that point. But our president promised to set things right, so we stayed.

The government has done NOTHING for healthcare after Katrina. No, let me clarify: it has done nothing for the private practitioner. There was an uncompensated care pool that helped hospitals from August 29, 2005 through January 31, 2006 (oh! so generous!). Hospitals and nursing homes can apply for part of a $160 million pool just released by Health and Human Services (though allocated from the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005--but what's two years among friends?) Oh, New Orleans also gets $10 million to recruit new "providers" into the area (whatever that term means). The ones already here get a big fat F*** You.

Not even a thank you.

Mere days after Katrina officials on the state and federal levels were being told--from people on the ground--what needed to be done. Increase Medicaid reimbursement for pediatricians treating Katrina survivors (both the ones remaining on the Gulf Coast and the ones dealing with the flood of evacuees in Baton Rouge, Houston, and the like). Reimburse for the surge of uninsured patients. Give government resources such as trailers for office space so local MDs can start seeing patients again. None of these suggestions--or others--has been even considered, let alone debated or implemented.

Here's my practice situation: since Katrina my office rent has doubled (I had to move out of my first office after it was destroyed). The rest of the overhead hasn't gone down any, what with added "fuel surcharges," inflation, and the like. My practice was 65% Medicaid--same as before Katrina, though it was still enough to keep the practice thriving beforehand. But the number of self-pay tripled. And the overall numbers? Not as many kids here now. And there won't be for a long while, if there is no affordable housing for families, and it's not the best environment for families anyway.

Oh, in the meantime, I just got the bill for my wind insurance premium, under the state wind pool. $6500. That is not a typo. Good thing we sold the house--though our realtor said we were miraculously lucky, since it was apparently the first house to sell in Waveland this year. Yes, one home sale in six months. No one wants to buy housing, no one wants to move in anymore, and certainly no one can afford the insurance to stay.

Prediction: look for the number of foreclosures to skyrocket in the next 12 months.

And then there is the obvious psychological stress and burnout. Seeing the debris every single day, the construction vehicles, the abandoned homes still waiting to be demolished, the streets being torn up for new sewer pipes and electric conduits. No relief, ever. Granted, everyone in town is in the same boat, which means at least we all understand each other's plight, but then again, it means it's the number one topic of conversation every day.

It hit home when I went to Washington last month for a conference. On the Metro, I didn't hear people asking, "how's your home coming along?" No one on the street mentioned about SBA, FEMA, or insurance. Oh, and things were green; trees weren't snapped; residential lots had nice houses, not abandoned concrete slabs; there were children playing in yards; malls and stores and farmer's markets to visit, restaurants to enjoy; the things that make life nice. That's not life on the Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast is now a toxic environment.

If anyone from the Gulf Coast reads this, they might protest I am overlooking the good, the progress. Yes, the Coast is being rebuilt. The Bay St Louis-Pass Christian bridge just reopened in May, to much fanfare. (It may sound silly for those of you out of the area, but the importance of that bridge cannot be overstated; it's a real milestone in the recovery of both towns.) But let me remind you that the bridge took 21 months to open. The CSX railroad bridge across the same channel was rebuilt in only 6 months, by private industry. The Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge isn't set to open until this November. Here we are two years after Katrina and we're still talking about rebuilding basic infrastructure. This is inexcusable. If we're at this point after all this time, it will be another 10 years before we're anywhere close to a normal town, a normal life.

Or longer. I've heard that Homestead, Florida still hasn't recovered from Andrew, now some 20 years ago. I worry that Waveland and New Orleans might never fully recover now. The people with the means are leaving, or working themselves into debt and exhaustion. The only ones left will be the working poor. Maybe some big condo developers will come in--though that in turn would utterly destroy everything that Waveland was.

And maybe the answer is, "so what?" So what if condos come in? Situations change, towns change. So what if Dr. Scott leaves town? (There are still two other pediatricians around.)

I think these things do matter. I do think my leaving has negative consequences for the community. I don't say this simply because I want to feel valued or self-important; I think even if one of the other pediatricians left instead the children of our town would be affected, and for the worse. The community as a whole is worse off.

We have the means to fix these problems, at our fingertips. But they require money. I decided to leave town for many reasons, but finances were at the top. I simply couldn't keep the doors open anymore--and I had the opportunity to leave for a better (and more pleasant and less stressful) life elsewhere.

Bush didn't say that we would rebuild New Orleans "if the budget allowed." I don't see Bush hemming and hawing about the bill for the war in Iraq. We can spend over a trillion dollars on a war of dubious necessity. But we can't find the money to restore healthcare or infrastructure to our own Gulf Coast.

Forgive me for playing the martyr, but I feel like I've been caring for the children of Waveland and Bay St Louis on my own back and on my own dime. I can't do it by myself anymore, and if no one is coming to help, it can longer be my problem. I have to think of the well-being of my own children, of my wife, and of myself.

This blog will continue; there's still more Katrina Story to tell, not to mention more insights into the whole big exciting world of medicine and pediatrics. And I won't forget those I've left behind. In fact, the intersection of disasters and medicine promises to continue to occupy my professional life for a while to come. But it won't be from Waveland, Mississippi. I leave the Gulf Coast with a heavy heart, but I'm excited to be leaving and starting new.

Bay St. Louis Pediatrics
February 22, 2004 - June 15, 2007


mumkeepingsane said...

What an honest post. All the best in trying to what's right for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Powerful post...

Best of luck to you and yours...

jmb said...

This is the saddest post. Very moving indeed. But two years is enough, you have to think of your family.
Good luck in your new location, I hope all goes well.

Opening Pandora said...

Best Wishes Dr. Scott, if you were in my neck of the woods, I'd switch my 2 girls to you in a heartbeat....

Cindy said...

I wish you the best of luck, but was Florida a really wise choice? It's just a matter of time before another massive storm rips up a big section of that state. Good luck getting through this year's hurricane season.


Thank you for this powerful and very sad post.

I wondered what was going on with you. You had not posted in a while. I have some small inkling of how hard this decision was for you, and I admire the effort you made to fight as long as you did.

Do keep blogging.

DrGwenn said...

You did what you could for longer than most but you have a family to consider, too. I hope Florida is everything you hope it will be personally and professionally. If not, come north - we could always use another pediatrician like you!

Dr. G

Sid Schwab said...

Wow. Well said, powerful. Bush, of course, is all about saying things in front of nice backdrops, and then leaving as if that were all that was necessary. The only surprise is that for a while, some thought he meant it. I'm sorry for your situation, and hope you find a new place and new hope. You deserve it.

Anonymous said...

What a powerful and sad post. I have spent about a month in the Gulf doing recovery work and the doctor is exactly right. If we were as great a nation as we always say we are, we would have done as much as the doctor to bring back the gulf. Our government, and our society as a whole, just does not care enough about things that matter.

I wish you the best.

Anonymous said...


I live in New Orleans and what you described and the exodus is just as common here even though we 'got support'. No one can blame you for going. I've had so many friends move on that I joke that my circle of friends doesnt have enough points to qualify as a circle any more.

I remember being in Houston watching the speech from Jackson Square and actually thinking 'Bush is actually giving a speech I like'. Then I noticed that the clock on the cathedral wasn't moving. There was no power in the French Quarter and this was just a photo-op. I was devestated, but it was just one hit among many at the same time.

Thanks for doing as much as you did for as long as you did.

Anonymous said...

Like the poster above me, I too spent some time in New Orleans doing recovery work. I went the week of Memorial Day this year. I couldn't believe I was seeing an American city.

Parts of the Ninth Ward just got power back within the last two months. How is this a first world country? There was so much bitterness we encountered. At the same time, it was a gorgeous place, and I can understand why people would want to live there.

Thank you for dedicating your time and energy to something that has largely been ignored by the government and the public.

Anonymous said...

As the other commenters have noted, this is an incredibly powerful post. I'm a New Orleans native who has lived in Florida for a long time. I watched Bush's speech surrounded by six relatives who had evacuated to my home. We were all hopeful and excited that night, but, alas, nothing happened. Congratulations on your heroic work on the Coast, and I wish you the best in your new home in Florida. Ed Deluzain

Terry said...

Fuck you. You whinning, greedy bastard.
The reason New Orleans is a garbage dump is because of the people of New Orleans.
New Orleans is below sea level.
Hurricanes are nothing new there.
The levies are their responsibility. Did they mantain them?
NO. On the contrary, the took a perverse pride in their political sleaze. There were like twenty levy boards overseeing each ward section. One ward spent money for mantaince on a fountain, another on a party.
You people got what you deserved.

PS Yes private industry(railroad bridge) works more efficiently and quicker then government, ESPECIALLY a corrupt sleaze government like the city government of New Orleans or the state government of Louisana.
Did you people demand change in their ways of corruption?
NO, just the opposite, like a said you took a perverse pride in it.

Anonymous said...

It's not just Bush , though he deserves most of the blame and "we" elected him ....twice; it's a Democratic congress that still does nothing ; it's a national media that's moved on to more exciting stories ; it's all of us too caught up in our own comfortable lives. It's a country where increasingly more and more people are just not needed and have become expendable.

Dr Scott said...

Thank you all for your support through all of this. I especially appreciate the perspectives from the more recent posters regarding New Orleans.

Except Terry. If Terry the Pea-Brain Troll was even semi-literate he would know that this blog is not about New Orleans. It is about Waveland, Mississippi. While the two places have much in common (including not just Katrina, but even a similar culture and cuisine), they have enough differences that I wouldn't presume to speak for the Crescent City. There are a number of bloggers who are doing a great job of that already. (Dr. Hebert, First Draft, and Harry Shearer come to mind.)

Oh, and Terry: Waveland and Bay St. Louis are above sea level. In fact, they are at one of the highest elevations on the entire Gulf of Mexico. But why let the facts get in the way of a little hate.

Anonymous said...

Doc --

Don't take Terry's comments personally. He just hates you because you said something negative about George W. Bush. As the number of people who continue to support Bush and his policies inexorably dwindles, Terry will become more and more unhinged.

Best of luck to you and your family. You did all you reasonably could for you community ... and a damn sight more than idiots like Terry.

Terry said...

Dr. Scott posted, "that this blog is not about New Orleans. It is about Waveland, Mississippi. While the two places have much in common"

Okay, I was wrong about the place, but so what? It doesn't matter.
Waveland has experienced just as many hurricanes as NO so they should be just as prepared for them, meaning they don't have to rely on any one else.
My criticism is still valid Dr.
Waveland is a garbage dump because of the people of Waveland.
It is no one elses fault because you weren't prepared and it if the people of Waveland are still in misery, no one to blame but yourselves.
Here is some advice, stop begging and get off your lazy ass.

As for the anonymous schmuck post number 16, I can't stand Bush.
You assumed wrong because your an asshole. said...

A blogger from New Zealand directed me to your blog.

I'm in Gulfport and I understand.

Blessings to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

You are a hero for staying as long as you did. Those of us staying understand you have to look after your family. I am a New Orleanian and my 81 year old mom lives a block off the beach in Pass Christian. I know what you have endured the last 22 months. This country has become a joke. It is not the country I was brought up to love and respect. Perhaps it never was that country.

TAFKA said...

I had wondered how things were progressing in places like Waveland--they're not in the news much anymore. I'm sorry to hear that things are so badly stalled, and don't blame you in the least for looking out for your family first. If you don't, no one else will.

Just one little issue: Andrew was not 20 years ago. It was 15. I remember very well; after he trashed the tip of Florida, he came and molested south Louisiana. My daughter had just moved into her dorm at LSU. She is not 38 by a long shot.

I wish you the best. I'm not clear what part of Florida you're in, but we have been spared lots of hurricanes in North Florida. Bear it in mind.

Florida said...

I cant believe my eyes when Terry posted: "Waveland deserves it because they werent prepared".

No city on the gulf is prepared for a direct hit from a CAT4. Your rantings make you sound like you are posting from an insane asylum, just joking around or just trying to kick an innocent person while they are down.

I will assume you are insane. I am sorry for the demons that torment you. But either way your comments are insignificant as a fly being squashed. And mostly, they dont move us forward... and thats everyones goal for the gulf coast.

Doc, I hope you find tranquility again soon.

Anonymous said...

What is it about some people? The vulgarity, vitriol and ignorance are still shocking although one might think that we'd be used to it by now.

Does it matter that half the people in Waveland left New Orleans and Louisiana for all the obvious reasons? Does it matter that Katrina was a 400 year storm? That a hurricane like Katrina has never happened in the 300 years since the French first arrived?

Does it matter that the Corps of Engineers and the oil companies destroyed the delta that used to protect New Orleans and Waveland from storm surges?

Would you say the same thing to several million people in Los Angeles or in the San Francisco Bay area because of the impending earthquakes? How about Denver? They have snow storms there. Texas? Oh yeah, they had 18 inches of rain there yesterday. Guess they're all fools to live there.

Where do you live that is so immune from any possible natural disaster and completely free of political corruption?

Why even dignify such idiots with logical arguments? Maybe we should just ignore them like a child throwing a tantrum.

Don't like what you read here? Then go somewhere else, buddy.

Steve Vizzini

Anonymous said...

In my anger, I forgot to acknowledge the real human here -- Dr. Scott. Thank you for taking care of the people and children of Waveland for all this time.

Steve Vizzini

brockton said...

Dr. Scott, you're due for some rest and relief from the frustration of post-storm Mississippi. You did more than anyone could have expected one person to do. Take care now and let us know how it is in your new place!

DrGwenn said...

Dr. Scott:

This is your blog and you don't have to tolerate comments that are not appropriate or even comment back to them. My advice, just remove those comments. They are offensive and short change the good work and efforts you are trying to do.

Just my friendly advice from one physician blogger to another.

Dr. G

Terry said...

florida posted, "No city on the gulf is prepared for a direct hit from a CAT4. "

From Wikipedia, "The storm weakened before making its second and third landfalls as a Category 3 storm "
Get your facts right.

Anonymous said...

And Terry,
The federal levees were engineered by the COE to supposedly hold back the surge of a Cat 3 storm. How do you explain that? Oh yeah, the federal government admitted negligence in design of those levees. The same government that has been negligent in aiding in the recovery of the Gulf South. But so long as it is your party that is incompetent, inept and filled with cronyism it is A OK with you.

slim said...

Dr. Scott, best of luck. I lived in Bradenton, FL for 20+ years, and later in New Orleans. I hope your family enjoys your new home, though I'm sorry that Waveland is losing you.


New Orleans is not below sea level. But it is sinking every year because the ground is being starved of water by the river control structures built and maintained by the federal government for the benefit of commerce. You may want to look at this map for information on how much land subsidence and salt water encroachment (due to oil and gas pipelines) have cost southeast Louisiana over the last 50 years. (The barrier islands and wetlands that have been lost could have helped protect Waveland from the storm surge, too.)

Katrina didn't drown New Orleans - the failure of federal levees and floodwalls drowned New Orleans.

The levees and floodwalls were built and are maintained by the federal government - the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The one levee that was maintained by a local entity did not fail during Hurricane Katrina.

You might want to read the Corps' 6,000 page report on its own failures - and on the number of levees it operates, in more than 30 states, which are at risk of failing for lack of maintenance or bad engineering.

Yes, there is corruption involved, but most of it is at the federal level. This is about the Corps of Engineers contracting out to private companies - like Jeb Bush client MWI - who fail to provide the service and materials they are paid for.

If that privately constructed railroad bridge you cited collapsed and killed a member of your family, you'd expect compensation, wouldn't you?

So why shouldn't New Orleans expect compensation when the river management structures the federal government builds and maintains* fail, destroying 60% of the private and public structures and killing 2000 people in the process?

*It builds and maintains these structures largely for the benefit of multinational corporations like ADM, Monsanto, ExxonMobil, and Cargill that depend on the Mississippi for transit of their commodities.

Get your facts straight and stop blaming the victim.

And yes, I'm a maritime lawyer who's studied the Mississippi River and its hazards while living in New Orleans, so I do know what the fuck I'm talking about.

Dr Scott said...

tafka--Thanks for the correction on the timeframe on Hurricane Andrew. I realized the day after I wrote this that my memory may have misjudged.
Dr. Gwenn--Advice appreciated. I thought for quite a while whether to just delete Terry's comments, since he doesn't have much constructive to add to the discussion here. But I'll keep his posts (for now) because (1) they sublimely illustrate some of the honest ignorance going on around this country (and Terry, before you decide to spew more vitriol, I use the term "ignorant" not perjoratively, but merely descriptively; it's abundantly clear that you have not visited Waveland OR New Orleans post-Katrina, but feel sufficiently self-informed anyway; so, yes, I think you are ignorant about what has and is happening there)
(2) I'll let other posters reply to Terry. As for me, I think he's doing a fine job hanging himself with his own rope.
Incidentally, cindy, my wife and I did talk a lot about hurricanes and Florida. We finally decided to go for it because we're now in southwest Florida, which historically has had the benefit of a unique geography reducing the risk of the worst storms (not that historically means much anymore after Katrina). Also, even after all of this, I'd still rather face a hurricane over an earthquake, tornado, fire, or most other natural disasters; at least you have the advantage of some warning and can get out of Dodge.

Martiki said...

Re: Terry

If you don't feed the troll maybe he will go away.

Florida said...

Ok, 6 mph from a CAT4, youre splitting hairs man. Why the venom?

Harry Woodrow said...

Good for you for sticking it out for so long. I have been practicing dentistry for 25 years and I don't know how long I would have stayed in your situation. Despite a deep sense of caring for my community, I just don't know.
I view the aftermath of Katrina as a prime example of how the majority of Americans have become greedy and uncaring about their fellow citizens. This is the same majority that has been electing reactionary republicans who have sold out our nation to big business over the last 25 years.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Scott,
I just returned today from visiting my mom who lives in Pass Christian, MS. It is my first visit since the Bay Bridge has opened so I got to see Waveland for the first time since the storm. Waveland is just plain gone. 22 months have past and it is still just plain gone. I truly admire the effort you gave to the town. It was superhuman. Thank you for that effort. I am so sorry this nation cares so little for its own citizens as to not supply the basic needs such as medical care to such devastated areas of our country. It is sad beyond words.

Matt said...

Doc, Since you want to let him hang himself, allow me to fight him with some facts.

From the National Hurricane Service, Katrina was:

#1 Costliest hurricane since 1900 ($81bn)

#3 Most casualties since 1900 (1500 and that looks low to me)

#3 most power storm at landing since 1900 as measured by pressure and the only CAT 3 in the top 10.

But hey, its all our fault.

Matt (also anon @June 28, 2007 8:24 AM from New Orleans)

N=1 said...

Hi Dr. Scott:

Here's what I turned up on the AMA website. I had thought that the AMA was working on physician practice restoration and support, but I didn't remember correctly, according to what is actually on the website.

HHS fell down on the reconstruction and restoration of services from the get-go, and the link to the post-Katrina page tells the tale as it was last updated in 2005.

It appears that the most that the government is doing is to conduct investigatory hearings via the House oversight and Governmental Reform Committee. With Joe Lieberman refusing to conduct hearings on the Senate side, it's clear that the country isn't offering any real and tangible support or reconstruction to healthcare services, providers and infrastructure.

I am so terribly sorry that this has happened to you, your family, your patients and your practice. Would it do any good to write to the AMA or another entity? What would be of help to you at this juncture?

The Independent Urologist said...

That was a very moving and powerful post. I wish your story could hit the mainstream media, like Oprah. Good luck.

N=1 said...

I just received this from Kaiser Network. This documentary seems to capture a lot of what you have experienced and written about.

"Voices of the Storm: Videos on Health Care After Katrina

As part of the Kaiser Family Foundation's continued commitment to help respond to the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, we have produced two videos focusing on individuals whose lives have been severely impacted by Katrina.

The videos explore the status of New Orleans' health care system roughly six months and one year after the storm, respectively. They also follow and document the health care experiences of several Katrina survivors in New Orleans and Baton Rouge." There are podcasts at the link as well as the video.

Jonathan said...

I have just watched Spike Lee's film on TV here in Belgium (it was actually on Dutch TV which we get here too) and all I can say is that I am speechless.
Someone called the levees "Leogo levees", and having seen what was in the film I can only conclude that this is probably a correct analysis. No, wait, even a child building a levee from Lego would have done a better job than that.
I am thinking of the bulky, sturdy, almost nuclear-proof levees that line the coasts of Belgium and the Netherlands, which also largely lie below sea level. Why is it that a country that can put a man on the Moon and drive remote controlled cars on Mars can't come up with something better?
I grieve for you, for those who got to suffer so much, for all those who lost everything. And for all those who put their trust in their authorities under the standard civic cintract "input taxes, output security and stuff we can't do on our own as individuals".
Apparently the deal is now "every man for himself". But what on Earth is Government good for then?
The evils of Anarchy are but a weather twist away. I am deeply worried for the future.

Anonymous said...

I, too, left Hancock County to secure a better future for my family. There is nothing there for us. We miss the people, but Hancock County will NEVER be the same quaint place that we were so proud to be a part of being.

Dr. Goodfellow also left and for good reason. Good luck to you, Dr. Scott!

Oh, and MR. TERRY--natural disasters happen no matter where you are...take a look at the recent Kansas floods!!

The seafood, the Cajun food, the music, the enjoy all of these things, yet you chastise those who have lived in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast all of their lives. Think before you speak, sir.

Hurricane Katrina was the WORST natural disaster to strike the U.S. Before you start chastising the residents of the Gulf Coast, take yourself a ride on down and see the debris and destruction for yourself, and take a brief tour of the culture that came from that area.

You, my friend, must be one of those arrogant Yankees who have only seen the footage of the destruction on T.V. and have not set foot onto the Coast to experience it. Ignorance is no excuse for arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to post so late, but I have a lot of reading to do, and only got to this post now.

I certainly understand your leaving Mississippi, though I am sorry you couldn't relocate within the state. I had to leave New Orleans because I had no job, no home, and no income, and needed work fast. I'm glad I made the decision to move north to McComb. New Orleans is still struggling, and I would have gone bankrupt waiting for my practice to become viable again. I'm sure it was the same for you.

For me, attachment to New Orleans is personal. I am Cajun, and my grandparents spoke French in the home. The life in New Orleans is my culture, the one I grew up with, and I consider it my birthright. I think a lot of people in America simply follow the money when they choos a place to live. Few have a connection to history and culture that New Orleanians have. Hurricane Katrina horribly wounded something that was living and breathing. I don't think anyone who has ever truly loved a place the way some people love New Orleans can ever understand that.

There is some of that feeling along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but it is being destroyed by the casinos, I think. Biloxi, Gulfport, and Waveland used to be such sleepy, peaceful places. They are becoming something else, and that is sad.

Good luck to you. I promise to keep better track of your posts in the future. MC Hebert

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