Remembering Rita

September 24, 2006
Reported by Rhonda Kitchens

One year ago, Hurricane Rita came ashore on the Southwest Louisiana coast, destroying homes and devastating lives. Sunday, community members came together to reflect, not only on what was lost, but more importantly give thanks for what was not.

Governor Kathleen Blanco says, "no Louisiana lives were lost to Hurricane Rita. In the face of this tragedy we can rejoice."

Governor Blanco addressed Southwest Louisiana residents Sunday during an interfaith service marking the one year anniversary of Hurricane Rita.

"We know that in our darkest hours we were never alone, he always stood by us," says Blanco, "his greatest love was evident in the faces of the thousands of people who came to help us."

"And that is what we celebrate this morning," says Mayor Randy Roach, "his incredible grace, his incredible glory and his incredible blessings upon us this past year."

George Swift of the SWLA Chamber of Commerce says, "and with our faith and great Southwest Louisiana spirit and hard work, our region will be better and stronger than ever before. This morning however, we pause with this celebration of thanksgiving, reflection, and hope."

A hope that Governor Blanco says, is grounded by faith.

"The Lord teaches us to do unto others as we would have them do unto ourselves, and you did. The Lord teaches us to love our neighbor, and you did. When Hurricane Rita struck here in Southwest Louisiana, you were busy doing Gods work. You had opened your homes and your hearts to those devastated by Hurricane Katrina."

And that faith she says, will see the community through.

"Together we are going to turn this disaster into a safer, stronger and smarter tomorrow. Together, we are going to build communities of God."