Friday, December 22, 2006

Thank You Kuwait

In December of 1985, the husband and I were beginning a move back to my beloved Deep South. Finally. We were living in south/central Indiana and I was more than ready for him to find a position that would bring him back into the oil drilling biz and, thanks to an old friend in New Orleans, he did. The friend sent a classified ad from the Times-picayune to him with a note that it looked to fit his experience.

The husband set up an interview with the HR woman of the drilling company at the office in Lafayette, LA. We were excited and drove down to check things out. He signed on the dotted line and we were moving to Cajun country and into our first house at the end of the month. We decided to move to Lafayette and not back to New Orleans as Lafayette we deemed to be better to raise a future family.

I drove from Indiana to Cameron, LA to send the husband off to his first hitch offshore for this company. Then I went back up to Indiana to finish moving preparations while he was gone.

Cameron was a tiny, rural community in the very southwestern tip of the coast of Louisiana. It is almost to the Texas border. The community was able to enjoy the financial rewards of oilfield workers going in and out of the town, back and forth to the Gulf of Mexico. It was a community of enthusiastic hunters. All along a two lane stretch of highway that ended at the Gulf were handmade signs advertising services of cleaning and dressing the rewards of hunting trips, as well as taxidermy services.

The people were friendly and we spent the night upon our arrival at a small motel. Nothing fancy by any stretch of the imagination but comfortable. We enjoyed a wonderful, fresh seafood dinner that night at a restaurant along a pier right on the water. It was very romantic after dark as it lit up in the darkness and the sound of the waves breaking on the beach.

Hurricane Rita, making landfall at the southwestern Louisiana coast, including the upper southeastern coast of Texas, just two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, destroyed Cameron. Wiped it out. Very little remained standing.

Most of the towns and communities devastated by Hurricane Rita are still struggling to re-build, just like those affected by Hurricane Katrina on the east coast of Louisiana and the Mississippi coast. It is a shame the victims of Hurricane Rita never got the publicity that the others did. Devastated communities are a tragedy whether it is a city like New Orleans or a rural community. At least New Orleans had most of it's city still standing except for parts directly hit. Even the homes completely underwater are still standing after the water left.

Fast forward to two days ago. As part of the monetary outreach of the Bush/Clinton Katrina Fund, the one former Presidents Bush and Clinton have raised millions to support, a hospital is on it's way to being re-built for the people in the area of Cameron. Since the hurricane hit, the people have been driving an hour for medical emergencies. The tiny, 25 bed South Cameron Memorial Hospital served as a first stop for injured offshore workers as well as community members. The donation made recently will be used along with other donations and FEMA money to re-open the hospital this spring.

Karen, why is Kuwait in the heading of this post, you might be thinking? Well, the Bush/Clinton Fund made its first contribution to victims of Hurricane Rita with this expenditure. Cameron's story was weighing on the heart of the former President Bush, as he had fond memories of the area from his days in the oilpatch. Bush cleared it with Clinton and the IRS, then asked one benefactor to the fund for permission to direct $2 million to Cameron. Who's the benefactor? The government of Kuwait, that's who. You may remember former President Bush has a bit to do with the fact they are free from Iraqi rule today.

And this leads me to George Clooney. Just stay with me here. George Clooney was invited by Bush to come along to Cameron and present the people with the check. Why George Clooney? "For the record, inviting Clooney was my idea, who better to help than arguably the best-known ER doctor in America.", Bush said. People came from as far away as Arkansas upon hearing rumors of the donation.

Clooney seems to be learning to use his celebrity for good purposes in his middle age. Instead of being known as just another liberal celebrity throwing word bombs and showing disrespect to the President overseas, he is finally getting a clue. Maybe. His father asked for his notoriety to get the word out about the genocide in Darfur and now a former president, named Bush, I might add, has given him the opportunity to be a good guy again. It was reported Clooney was generous with autographs and pictures among the crowd gathered to witness the check presentation.

Cameron received a much needed Christmas gift. The reason for the season. Neighbors helping neighbors.

It is finally feeling like the Christmas season when I hear an especially moving rendition of "O Holy Night". That happened this morning, warming my heart.

The new title for the upcoming 7th and final Harry Potter book? "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Son was not impressed with that title. He'll look forward to it as he has all the others though.

"I'd rather pop popcorn than look at George Clooney," said Lloyd Woodcock, 33. "I came here for Bush."
Woodcock was among the crowd in Cameron.


SEAWITCH said...

I'm glad you've posted about Cameron. It, along with the small towns of Delcambre, Venice, Offshoot, St. Rose, and many others have not been mentioned by the media.

I've tried to post about the small in Louisiana but it's mainly been those where I know someone who lives there.

I've tried to post about the small communities of Mississippi as well. Pearl River, St. martin and D'Iberville are not exactly household names.

I'm very glad to see Cameron getting much needed help.

By the way, my son is also mad at the title for the new Harry Potter book.

srp said...

I think I wrote somewhere else yesterday that JK Rowlings better hurry and get the last book out... these kids are going to be in their late 20's before they graduate from Hogwarts. Someone wrote back that the last movie might have to be called "Welcome Back, Potter" if they get too old.

It is time to focus on the little areas, leave NO to itself. I still can't believe they used donated and government money to redo the superdome. What a waste.

Anonymous said...

LOL... while enjoying the trip down memory lane I was waiting for the political ties. ;)

Although really - I loved the trip more because you said you got to "move back to my beloved Deep South" which as you know - I'm waiting and waiting and waiting for hubby to at least TRY to get down to Alabama. I have no idea why... I lived in Tennessee!!! But he has said he doesn't want to go 'back' to Tennessee as we've already lived there. So... for whatever reason, I'm waiting patiently for my chance to say "moving back to the south" with a grin on my face.

Oh.. was I supposed to say something about Mr. Clooney????


Anonymous said...

This was riveting! And all the segues were perfect. I don't know if I can inch George Clooney off my "do not watch" list, but you've made me reassess it, a little. Maybe. We'll see how long it lasts.

My relatives lived along the coast when Camille hit. That's the only damage I've seen firsthand and it was bad enough. The pictures I see from Mississipi look worse than NOLA. I haven't heard of Cameron's hospital problems. Thanks for painting such a clear picture.

colleenR said...

I just saw Clooney on Charlie Rose tonight and was impressed with his maturity. And then we watched Elf!

I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

At last, something positive about Mr. Clooney. It's a long road back, George, if you're coming. It's a start.
O Holy Night is my favorite solemn Christmas song. It's emotional when the best of singers do it and no, I do not mean Ms. Striesand, at all. I said singers.
Nice post about the life and times, Karen. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Merry Christmas from a place with many Louisianans to another - hey, it's a big world, but a small oilpatch!