Katrina in Lubbock

Lubbock, the Hub City of the South Plains, was impacted by Katrina, even though it is almost 1,000 miles from the Louisiana/Mississippi Gulf Coast. Here are two reports from my friend Johnny Hughes September 6:

Sunday, three plane loads of refugees arrived here in Lubbock. Alll the agencies were out in force at the airport on Saturday because that is when the Feds said they would come. The pilots and the refugees did not know where they were going until they were in the air. Lubbock did not know they were coming until a pilot called our Mayor.

All the agencies were out in force: DPS, Lubbock Police, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Doctors, Nurses, Ambulances from quite a few towns. There were more officials and volunteers than there were refugees. It took less than thirty minutes to get them off the planes and on rolling buses. These were people who had been at the convention center in New Orleans, the worst place to be. They were mostly small family units. Only three people were taken directly to the hospital.. Within an hour of hitting flat land, they had their own cell phones, place to sleep, hot showers, hot food, medical services, presription drugs on the way, social workers, toys, a basketball court, schools to enroll in, and job search help. Our whole Emergency Management system is set up to deal with tornados fast, very fast. They don't need many briefings, and press conferences and meetings about what refugees will need. They know what to do already. The pilots said that Lubbock was better prepared than any place they had been.

The military knows what to do and would have done it right if not held back by slogan slinging bureaucrats. Over and over, federal agencies have these highly paid managers who have no experience with that agency or it's mission. Long term professionals in State and Federal government have to answer to someone who got the job by political activites, mainly fund raising. Political hacks buy jobs they cannot handle. Both political parties are equally gulity of political patronage and it's built in inefficiency.

September 11:

We started with 400 evacuees and are down to 200. There are constant pleas on TV for airline tickets. Many didn't know they were coming here, didn't want to, and had relatives and a support system elsewhere.

They have different caterers daily. When they arrived about 1000 cops, medics, and goody two shoe volunteers met them. They have daily scheduled activities. One day there was a three hour plus tour of Lubbock, I started thinking of them as captives. One night there was a Caldwell music show just for them. Today there is a Caldwell music show again for the whole community at Reese, a closed air base and their temporary home. There are 1000 American Flags out there. Yesterday the field of flags was closed to the public and the evacuees had to spend reflective time alone there. Today all of Lubbock is invited out to show their support for the captives and get a look at them.

These evacuees came from the Superdome and the projects and a pattern of segregation and racism. Now they are spending all their waking hours with boring honkies. Another 150 will beg to get out of town if they are forced to hear one more off key teenage girl sing "Walking After Midnight". There are a lot more volunteers than room for volunteers and spots with the evacuees are coveted. Our City Manager was absent for the welcoming of the evacuees and he is history. The new City Manager was all over this opportunity. We had three big shelters ready but the Feds over promised evacuees and some volunteers were deeply saddened.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army have often repeated television pleas not to bring them anymore goods, old clothes, food, water....money, they need money.


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