University of Idaho College of Law Public Interest Law Group

Michelle – Track I – SURVEY FOR NORTH GULFPORT COMMUNITY LAND TRUST

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Walking and knocking for three days was an experience that I will never forget. There were moments of sorrow, moments of tiredness, and moments of joy. It was a new experience, for me, to achieve so much emotion in a single interaction with a person.

As I was learning about what we would be doing in the small Mississippi community of Turkey Creek, I was assuming that there would not be much emotion. Come to find out however that emotion was about all you saw. The emotion of those that you were surveying, emotion from the escorts that were showing you around, and emotion swelling inside yourself.

In a community that was affected by hurricane Katrina the people were still living in conditions that would seem to me should have been fixed after three years. One man let three law students enter his FEMA trailer and talk to him about the things going on in his community. He told us about being displaced from New Orleans and moving back to his roots, the community where he grew up. He told us about losing contact with his wife during the storm. She ended up in Houston, Texas and he was in Atlanta, Georgia, and using the computer systems set up in the facilities they could be reunited. The man’s wife just passed away a couple of month ago while still living in the FEMA trailer, right next to the brand new house that was being built for them. The tragic reasoning for this man still being in the FEMA trailer and not in his new home was the mere fact that an electrician had taken his money and done no work. The house was beautiful, but it had no electricity.

We were being sent into the neighborhood to find out the opinions of the people about the expansion of the port that was occurring… and we got story after story about how Katrina affected them. It was encouraging to see these people struggling to rebuild their lives, and heartbreaking even when they had been trying so hard, a multitude of circumstances could still keep them from their goal.

Michelle Harvey

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Written by jrdo410

March 14, 2008 at 10:18 am

One Response

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  1. From the board and staff of the MS Center for Justice, a HUGE, HEARTFELT THANK YOU to the law students from the University of Idaho School of Law who spent your spring break on Mississippi’s post-Katrina coast. We truly appreciate your hard work and your generosity of spirit! Martha Bergmark, President, MCJ

    Martha Bergmark

    March 14, 2008 at 11:47 am


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