Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Gunflint's New Orleans Connects

While the Gunflint Trail maybe on the other side of the country from the tragic disaster that is playing out in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the Trail does have it Gulf Coast connections. Of course we are sadden by what occurred while others on the trail have their own person connection.

Barbara Young, at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B two week before Katrina hit received an email from Patsy Dupuy, a former employee and whose parents had a summer resident on Leo Lake. Patsy now lives in Hammond, just north of New Orleans. Betsy was writing about her interest in returning to the Gunflint next summer for a visit. Barbara and Patsy exchanged several emails then Katrina arrived and Barbara has not been able to reach Patsy until today ( September 6, 2005) when Patsy sent the following email-

"Thank you so much for your concern! It has been a terrible tragedy that has hit new orleans. It's just so sad that so many people have lost their homes. We did have alot of damage where we were. Mostly trees and power lines. It felt like the blow down that we had up there a few years back. Although it's hot as hell down here and we don't have a lake to bath in. I'm very glad that we everyone in my family made it safely through it. Denise's apt (Patsy's sister) in New Olreans flooded a little bit, but the damage came from the looters. She hasn't been there to see for herself but we've seen some on the tv. I do appreciate the email, and everyone appreciates all the support provided to help us through this devestating storm. Thanks again!-patsy"

For those of you on the Gunflint that would like to contact Patsy her email address is patsy.dupuy@neill.net.

Then there is Sue Campbell, who works at Trail Center and who grew up in New Orleans. Sue still has relatives in the city including her father. Just prior to the storm Sue called her father and at that time he was determined to ride out the storm in his house. She has not heard from him since.

Perhaps one of the more unusual stories is that of Char Nelson from Windigo Lodge. Earlier this summer several women from New Orleans were staying at Windigo. As the ladies were checking out of the lodge, Char mentioned she had a good friend who she had gone to nursing school with and when this friend moved to New Orleans several years ago Char lost touch with her. When Char mentioned her friend's name to the women they explained that Char's friend was a neighbor and they knew here well. Char gave the departing ladies her phone number to give to her long lost friend.

Fast forward several weeks- Katrina hits New Orleans, and Char receive a phone call from her friend. Char's friend exclaims that she is still a nurse and after the storm she was flown to the Houston Astrodome to provide medical assistance. She then explains to Char that upon arriving at the Astrodome she was the only health profession there and there were some fifteen thousand refuges at the Astrodome and more arriving hourly. Char friend then when on to say that, "I need help, get done here right away we need nurses desperately." Char told her friend that because she is no longer licensed as a nurse she can not help, but she will contact her acquaintances in the medical field in Duluth about sending help." Hopefully, more medical professionals have arrived at the Astrodome by now.

Then there are those Trail residents that can assist and our on their way to the Gulf States or as Sue Kerfoot put it. "Bruce and I have received an offer of a free trip to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast from the Red Cross. We anticipate leaving on Saturday (9/4) and returning on Friday (9/23)." More on their experiences latter.

The BWCA's blow-down pales in comparison to the disaster Katrina wrought onto our neighbors on the Gulf Coast. Help is desperately needed. The Cook County community is mobilizing to help send disaster relief to stricken Gulf Coast communities. The Grand Marais State Bank is currently accepting checks for the Salvation Army. Checks brought to the bank should have "disaster relief" written in the memo space. Donations can also be made online at www.thesalarmy.com. People can also make donations to the Red Cross disaster relief effort at www.redcross.org or call 800-435-7669. FMAS's list of organizations to donate services or funds to for the Gulf Coast relief- can be found at- http://www.nvoad.org/membersdb.php?members=National.

Hopefully the Gulf Coast communities will be treated better by FEMA then the miserable treatment the Gunflint Trail received after the "Blow Down." However, thus far FEMA and the Federal government's performance in Gulf Coast has been dismal.

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