Coast Residents, Recalling Katrina, Gather Supplies For Louisiana
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Gulfport firefighters load donated supplies for LA flood victims.
Evelina Burnett

Mississippi Gulf Coast residents, remembering the outpouring of donations and help 11 years ago after Hurricane Katrina, are now working together to help their neighbors in Louisiana affected by unprecedented flooding. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports.

Firefighters help unload a pallet of water from Brent Fayard’s truck at the Central Fire Station in Gulfport. In addition to the 65 cases of water, Fayard brought 4 cases of toilet paper - "I think it’s around 300 rolls of toilet paper, about 300 or 400 rolls of paper towels, a thousand trash bags," he says.

Fayard is one of many coast residents who have donated supplies to bring to Louisiana this week.

"I lost everything during Hurricane Katrina, and I decided to pay the favor back because we had such great help from everyone else," Fayard says. "It doesn't hurt to help somebody in need."

In Gulfport, donations were being accepted at all fire stations and then gathered at the central fire station and loaded in pallets on to 18-wheeler trucks. Chris Vignes says the response from coast residents has been tremendous.

"It's been unbelievable," he says. "It's been surreal. We put out a post on Facebook, and the last time I checked we had reached 72,000 people. It was organic, and that just us saying, hey, come together. If you've got anything. We've had people show up with truckloads, with two bags. And we're on our second 18-wheeler."

By the end of the day on Tuesday, the effort had filled three 18-wheelers and two trailers with supplies - all since Sunday.

"We've had a lot of help here in years past, and we came together and thought this would be a good way to pay it forward," Vignes adds. "We've been in their situation and we know what they're looking forward to, and what they can look forward to in the future."

The Gulfport fire department also sent a rescue team to Louisiana. Vignes says, by Tuesday they had saved more than 250 people.