It was 2005, Hurricane Katrina had just inundated the city of New Orleans and washed away portions of the Mississippi Gulf Coast one month earlier. There was another dangerous lady that was making her way toward the northern Gulf Coast in late September. Her name was Rita.

Rita came ashore very near the Louisiana Texas line, but her effects reached far beyond the point of landfall. In coastal parishes storm surge washed over cities, towns, farms and highways. Entire coastal cities where houses and camps once stood had been reduced to foundations and frames.

While tens of thousands lost homes and property and hundreds of thousands were without power this storm was different than Katrina. Katrina hit the "hands out" area of our state. The part of the state where people had been taught by politicians that the government was there to take care of them and all of their needs and luxuries. Katrina hit the land of entitlement.

Rita had come ashore hundreds of miles to west and light years away from the welfare state of New Orleans. Rita may have damaged our homes in Southwest Louisiana but she did not take our spirit. Instead of whining and waiting for an inept response from FEMA, The Federal Government or a very inadequate state government.

The people affected by Rita simply rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Neighbors helped neighbors, communities that had not been as badly affected shared with communities that were hurting and we got through it. They call Rita the forgotten storm because the national media was so focused on New Orleans. Here in our part of the world, we remember Rita.

If a hurricane does not make you dead, it will make you strong.- Jimmy Buffet

We are alive and stronger than ever before.