Lest we forget … Pearlington | AspenTimes.com

Lest we forget … Pearlington

It has been exactly six months since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in late August. And though from here in the Roaring Fork Valley the disaster seems long past and far away, it’s still an everyday reality for hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana and Mississippi.It’s hard to imagine how a natural disaster could so completely paralyze such a large swath of the wealthiest nation in the world for such a long time, and with no real end in sight. But Katrina remains a daily nightmare for many Gulf Coast residents, including the people of Pearlington, Miss.Back in fall 2005, Roaring Fork Valley residents collectively “adopted” Pearlington as a place to focus their hurricane-relief efforts. The holidays understandably interrupted the flow of money and material goods to Pearlington, but Carbondale-based aid efforts have since resumed, with several groups planning trips to Pearlington this month.The Aspen Times also returns to Pearlington this week.Beginning with today’s front-page story about Fat Tuesday in New Orleans, and continuing with dispatches from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, reporter Scott Condon and photographer Paul Conrad will bring readers up to date on the recovery of this community of 1,700 people. They’ll visit many of the same individuals and families they met on their first trip to the area last year to see if they’ve rebuilt or moved on. And they’ll try to assess Pearlington’s chances of survival as a community, centered as it was on a small handful of churches and public institutions.We hope our coverage serves to remind our readers of the joint commitment we all made by donating time and resources to the people of Pearlington. During the middle of a great ski season in the Rocky Mountains, Mississippi may seem like a remote place with unfathomable problems, but the work in Pearlington is far from finished. And it’s desperately needed.As one Roaring Fork Valley volunteer said of Pearlington residents last week, “no one expects anything, and they’re appreciative of everything.”Please take a few moments to read some of our upcoming coverage and consider how you might be able to help.