Rita One Year Later: Anniversary Events

September 14, 2006

Reported by: Britney Glaser

Chamber SWLA and America's Wetlands have teamed up to organize the Hurricane Rita one year anniversary events that they say should bring in hundreds of people.

Andrew Stirling, Public Liaison with the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, came to town yesterday afternoon to meet with local officials about these events.   Stirling says the national spotlight will be on Southwest Louisiana.  "It strikes us that in the absence of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita is the costliest and most devastating natural disaster to hit our country," said Stirling, "yet outside of this region here, you don't get a lot of coverage for Rita, and so our hope is that we can bring some national attention to the ongoing issues that need to be addressed here."

The Rita anniversary events will bring local residents and political officials together to talk about issues still lingering with last year's storm.

The first even on the agenda, is a trail ride to recovery on September 23rd's Cattle Drive.  Monique Thierry, Director of Public Policy with Chamber SWLA says this drive is important because 30,000 cattle were lost in Rita, affecting the livelihood of many farmers.  Thierry said, "For many people, 20-30,000 heads of cattle is just cattle, but it's a livelihood for many families and its a traditional livelihood."

There will also be an interfaith service on the morning of Rita's anniversary.  "This is although a celebration of hope and recovery and renewal, it's also a reflection of what we did lose last year...so much and are still struggling toward recovering and rebuilding from those efforts," said Thierry.

Schedule of Events for Rita Anniversary:

Saturday, Sept. 23: Riding the Trail to Recovery, Cameron, LA

Cattle Drive beginning at the corner of Jimmy Savoie and Trosclair Roads, Concluding at the Cameron Recreation Site.  From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Free and open to public...plus food!

Sunday, Sept. 24: Remembering Rita Interfaith Service, Lake Charles, LA

At the Rosa Hart Theater in the Lake Charles Civic Center.  From 8 a.m to 9:30 am.  Free and open to public.

Sunday, Sept. 24: One Stop Shopping, Lake Charles, LA

Lake Charles Civic Center.  Meet with officials from FEMA, the Road Home Program and the Red Cross to answer any questions.  From 10 a.m to 2 p.m.  Free and op

Sunday, Sept. 24: Discuss the Recovery of America's Energy Coast, Lake Charles, LA

In the Buccaneer Room in the Lake Charles Civic Center.  From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Congressional, business and community leaders will discuss the restoration of America's Energy Coast.  Free and open to public.

Call the Chamber SWLA at 433-3632 for additional information.