At 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9, the Blount County Public Library will host a program for sharing the ongoing story of Blount Countys Response to Hurricane Katrina.
Seeking to illustrate the cooperative effort of many different groups, the library has invited a panel of people to describe their participation in the aftermath of the tragedy of Katrina.
The program will include a panel of individuals and organizations who have participated in the ongoing response. There will also be Cajun music and some artwork by physical therapist, RaRa Schlitt of "Favorite Quotations of Katrina Evacuees."
Various people will each share personal stories about how they
and/or their organization have participated to responding to
the ongoing needs and crises as theyve arisen for people who evacuated to Blount County as well as for Blount County residents who opened their hearts and help to family, friends and strangers who sought refuge.
"It was a living hell to be in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit, but once the plane brought me and my family to Blount County, the people here have been just wonderful," says Shawn Bazile, an evacuee who arrived with 12 family members, several of whom were severely ill.
Bazile, currently employed in Knoxville, still resides in Blount County, a place she calls "a little slice of heaven."
As evacuees arrived in Blount County and as Blount County families
started having contacts and arrivals of family and friends, the
American Red Cross, Blount County Chapter, was the "triage" unit for
services, registering evacuees and referring them to appropriate
resources throughout the community. A multitude of organizations worked
coordinate needed services.
Groups, organizations and people who will be participating on the
- American Red Cross, Blount County chapter: Mary Caylor
- Health/Medical: Blount County Health Department: Kathy Abbott
- United Way of Blount County: Jean Williamson
- Churches: Chilhowee Baptist Center Travel Units for Rebuilding -
- Media: The Daily Times
- Blount County Public Library
- Tennessee Career Center: Shandy Hensley
- Artist/Physical Therapist: RaRa Schlitt
- Hurricane Katrina Evacuee: Shawn Bazile
Now, more than a year later, the work continues.
Even as the victims of Katrina are still dealing with the emotional trauma and the harsh reality of rebuilding homes and life circumstances, people in Blount County continue to offer resources and assistance.
For example, several church groups still travel to the hurricane area to assist with home construction. Numerous people still offer housing, medical assistance and other help for new residents who no longer have any coastal homes, schools or jobs to which to return.
For many evacuees, there are no homes, family or jobs to which to return. Therefore, here in Blount County, the story continues.
This program is free and open to the public. The Blount County Public Library is located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville. For further information about other library programs or services, call the library at 865-982-0981 or visit the Web site at www.blountlibrary.org.