Thursday, September 22, 2005

Everything has a purpose

Fr. Jospeh Huneycutt has just moved to Houston, and talks about the welcome he has received here, here, here, and here.

I went to the local grocery store today, and it was so packed with panic shoppers that there were no shopping carts to be had. I had to empty a box of snickers to buy the things I had come to pick up. It took about 45 minutes to get through the check out line. While waiting in line one unhappy immigrant to Houston said "This makes me sick. I should have never moved here."

These hurricanes can be bothersome, but if it wasn't for the hurricanes, the summer heat, and the bugs, everyone would want to live here, and next thing you know Houston would be taken over by commie libs from the North who would turn it into another San Francisco. So even the yellow rose of Texas has a thorn, but the thorn is only meant to scare the fur-nurs.

:)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Remembering 9/11 the wrong way

Michelle Malkin is following the story of the proposed memorial for Flight 93, which "coincidentally" is proposed to take the shape of the red crescent of Islam.

That would be the same religion of peace practiced by all of the hijackers who killed the people this memorial is supposed to be memorializing. This would be somewhat like having a Holocaust Memorial for the Jews, which coincidentally took the shape of a swastika, or maybe having an eternal flame on the grave of Emmitt Till, that coincidentally looked like a burning cross.

People are fighting back.

And speaking of remembering 9/11:



Rick Rescorla, a hero of the Vietnam War (here shown in the Ia Drang Valley of "We Were Soldiers" fame) who was also a hero of 9/11, and died saving others


Powerline posted a nice article about Rick Rescorla, who was one of the 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11, and who is particularly worthy of remembrance.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Religion of Peace Strikes Again... an update on Taybeh



Dr. Maria Khoury


Rage Followed the Forbidden Affair in Taybeh

Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.

Our Biblical Christian village has co-existed in peace with the surrounding Muslim villages for centuries. Not being able to comprehend the tragic events that took place in our little innocent village of Taybeh, I have been speechless for many days. I literally lost my voice yelling at the fanatics to go away from our doorsteps at the Taybeh Brewery as they were about to torch modern-state of the art equipment that produces the only micro brewed beer in the whole Middle East area named after our village. A violent mob of armed young men took the law in their own hands and come for a revenge attack on our whole extended family since a distant cousin was accused of having an affair with a woman from their village of Deir Ejreer. Over three hundred men aggressively raided the village between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. on Sept 3rd burning down houses, cars and looting. Taybeh residents evacuated their homes in fear of their lives thus no one was injured.



At the moment, Taybeh Beer, for me stands as a symbol for democracy in Palestine. It was Muslim fanatics that wanted to burn it and Muslim policemen that saved us. It is a challenge for the Palestinian Authority to protect the small Christian community and diverse populations in Palestine if there is to be a democratic two-state solution following the pro-longed years of occupation. By the way, the Israeli army jeep came in the village and the soldiers simply watched the houses burn down without doing anything in their power to stop the rage. Although we were on the phone with the army captain begging for immediate help to stop the violence.



We are overpowered by tribal laws which make it legal in the Islamic religion to kill women in the honor of the family. Thus, the Muslim woman, Hiyam was killed and buried by her brothers without a death certificate after discovered pregnant. The accused man, a Christian, paid the highest price by not only going to jail but knowing that sixteen homes were attacked belonging to his extended family leaving fourteen homes completely burned. Innocent families losing all of their personal belongings, furniture, clothes, family keepsakes that were passed down from generation to generation and beautiful family portraits that reflect the deep roots of this Christian village having a unique character and identity since the time Christ our Lord walked into this village before his crucifixion (John 11:54).



This barbaric and uncivilized behavior could not be stopped by the Israeli Occupying army or by the Palestinian Authority. As American citizens we made numerous phone calls to the American Consulate Emergency services pleading for help to put pressure on the Israelis to allow the Palestinian police to pass the checkpoints and arrive in Taybeh to stop the catastrophe. It took over three hours for the Palestinian police to arrive but with great appreciation to the American Consulate at least our brewery and our home were saved. This was totally unjustified violence that left over 72 people, the majority children, in despair and agony having nothing left except the shirt on their backs.



Furthermore, as a woman believing in human rights, what bothers me the most is that I live in a culture that wants to punish the man who slept with the woman instead of the men who killed the woman? And not only punish one man but in barbaric style punish every family member that is related to him; and we are talking about fifth cousins and sixth cousins; innocent people that have nothing to do and cannot control the sin of an individual. This aggression is something bizarre that has happened in our village and should be condemned by all people who believe in law and order.



I have never had such an experience in my twenty-five years in Palestine. It is my Muslim collogues who call me before my Christian friends to wish me “Merry Christmas.” It is a Muslim mother that picks up my son at midnight when he is stranded in the city. My son’s best friend is a Muslim and I love him like my own son Costa. I cannot make logical sense of what has happened in our village. And we are in such deep need of reconciliation among all groups of people who are just in pure shock.



Christ’s love and peace is more important than ever. Our witness to Christian values and our struggle to exist as a small community is now at the mercy of not only the Israeli Occupying power which is legally responsible for protecting unarmed civilians but also at the hands of the Palestinian Authority who must bring law and order and put an end to tribal laws which are detrimental in this new millennium. Family feuds should be taken to a courtroom not solved in the hands of hundreds of crazy fanatics that are capable of wiping out a whole village with such aggressive violence that leave you speechless.



My husband David Khoury, the new mayor of Taybeh has make an appeal to many religious leaders, both Muslim and Christian and to all authorities including humanitarian organizations to help us have a strong voice as a Christian community and send letters of condemnation to the Israeli and Palestinian Prime Ministers that justice, law and order should prevail. Protection against such aggressive unjustified violence should be guaranteed for all human beings in the Holy Land regardless of religion, race, and gender. The violent aggression against our village should be condemned to help Taybeh maintain its unique character and identity as one of the most ancient places in Palestine and the only 100% Christian village left. We want the Palestinian justice system to prevail and not the tribal traditions that seek blood for forbidden relationships.



Note: Maria Khoury is author of Witness in the Holy Land and the new children’s book, Christina’s True Heroes about seven women saints.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"It's Hell to be poor, black, and from New Orleans in Houston Texas"



Quanell X, of the New Black Panther Party... who drives a brand new Hummer around the Hell that is Houston... if your poor and black -- not that he would know, mind you, as he drives it to his upscale suburban home.


"It's Hell to be poor, black, and from New Orleans in Houston Texas"... or so said Quanell X, Houston's own advocate of Black-victimization. This was in response to an apartment complex in Clear Lake (a suburb to the South of Houston) that allegedly had promised 150 hurricane victims a home, but then said that they would need to run background checks first. The apartment manager, who is herself Black, denied any racial motivations behind this requirement.

Also today, a cruise ship in Galveston was going to take hurrican victims from the Astrodome and house then in their luxury cabins... but this proposal ran into problems when they could not find enough hurricane victims willing to take them up on the offer. It seems that the hell that it is to be Black, poor, and from New Orleans in Houston was too much of a draw.

Oh the humanity!

There are a lot of white folks in Houston that would love to taste a little bit of the hell that life on a cruise ship has to offer.

And by the way, it seems that much of what we heard about the hell that it was to be poor and black in New Orleans wasn't true either. See this from Michelle Malkin.

Monday, September 05, 2005

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

Hat-tip: Orthodoxy Today

by Robert Tracinski

It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can’t blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city’s infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists–myself included–did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency–indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:

“Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.
“The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire….
“Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.
” ‘These troops are…under my orders to restore order in the streets,’ she said. ‘They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.’ ”
The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to drive away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Super Dome?
Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. “The projects,” as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

What Sherri was getting from last night’s television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of “the projects.” Then the “crawl"–the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels–gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or so who remained, a large number were from the city’s public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me an additional, crucial fact: early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city’s jails–so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations–that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit–but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals–and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep–on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters–not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American “individualism.” But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider “normal” behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don’t sit around and complain that the government hasn’t taken care of them. They don’t use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don’t, because they don’t own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

The welfare state–and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages–is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

Source: TIA Daily – September 2, 2005

The Religion of Peace Strikes Again... This time it's Taybeh



This village that was attacked is the same village that Dr. Maria Khoury has been trying to help. It is the last completely Christian town in the west bank.



Sep. 5, 2005 4:39 | Updated Sep. 5, 2005 6:55
Muslims ransack Christian village
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
TAIBA


Efforts were under way on Sunday to calm the situation in this Christian village east of Ramallah after an attack by hundreds of Muslim men from nearby villages left many houses and vehicles torched.

The incident began on Saturday night and lasted until early Sunday, when Palestinian Authority security forces interfered to disperse the attackers. Residents said several houses were looted and many families were forced to flee to Ramallah and other Christian villages, although no one was injured.

The attack on the village of 1,500 was triggered by the murder of a Muslim woman from the nearby village of Deir Jarir earlier this week. The 30-year-old woman, according to PA security sources, was apparently murdered by members of her family for having had a romance with a Christian man from Taiba.

"When her family discovered that she had been involved in a forbidden relationship with a Christian, they apparently forced her to drink poison," said one source. "Then they buried her without reporting her death to the relevant authorities."

When the PA security forces decided to launch an investigation into the woman's death, her family protested for fear that the relationship would be exposed. The family was further infuriated by the decision to exhume the body for autopsy.

The attack is one of the worst against Christians in the West Bank in many years. Residents said it took the PA security forces several hours to reach Taiba. Others complained that the IDF, which is in charge of overall security in the area, did not answer their desperate calls for immediate help.

"More than 500 Muslim men, chanting Allahu akbar [God is great], attacked us at night," said a Taiba resident. "They poured kerosene on many buildings and set them on fire. Many of the attackers broke into houses and stole furniture, jewelry and electrical appliances."

With the exception of large numbers of PA policemen, the streets of Taiba were completely deserted on Sunday as the residents remained indoors. Many torched cars littered the streets. At least 16 houses had been gutted by fire and the assailants also destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary.

"It was like a war, they arrived in groups, and many of them were holding clubs," said another resident.

"Some people saw them carrying weapons. They first attacked houses belonging to the Khoury family [looking for the man who had the affair with the women, not realizing he had already fled the village.] Then they went to their relatives. They entered the houses and destroyed everything there. Then they tried to enter the local beer factory, but were repelled by PA security agents.

The fire engine arrived five hours later."
Col. Tayseer Mansour, commander of the PA police in the Ramallah area, said his men arrived late because of the need to coordinate their movements with the IDF. "The delay resulted in the torching of a number of houses and cars in the village," he said.

Taiba, the only West Bank village that is completely inhabited by Christians, is famous for its Taiba Beer factory, which was established by the Khoury family in 1994.

The residents are Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic. The village was originally called Ephraim, and is thought to be the city to which Jesus came with his disciples before his crucifixion: "Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim" (John 11:54).

According to some accounts, Salah a-Din, who led the war against the Crusaders, was responsible for the name change. He is said to have found the villagers there to be nice and kind – in Arabic, taybeen – and the name stuck, to become Taiba.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina, Race, and Simple Answers

For several years, I was an assistant to the manager of a welfare office here in Houston, and one of my primary duties was to handle complaints that had gone beyond the unit level, and the person making the complaint wanted to speak to head honcho. I wasn’t the head honcho, but I was the closest that they usual got to him. One of the things I observed over time was how issues of race entered into these complaints.

Particularly, if the person making the complaint had been interviewed by a case worker of another race, they would often charge that racism had played a role in them not getting the benefits they wanted in the amount or in the time that they believed that they should have… but some times, they would make claims of racism even if the case worker was the same race. In those cases, they would claim there was a larger conspiracy to prevent their race from getting the right amount of benefits or timely service.

Black folks would tell me that if they were white, they would have been treated differently. White folks would tell me if they were black, they would have been treated differently. Hispanic folks would tell me that if they were white or black, they would have been treated differently. I have spoken with many people of other races who also work in government bureaucracies, who have have observed this same phenomenon

I had the advantage of knowing the bureaucracy, the policy, and the people involved, and I know that race had nothing to do with it. Regardless of the race of the people they dealt with, Case workers invariably just wanted to stay on top of their work, get cases finished, and not be cited with an error by a quality control auditor for having worked the case incorrectly. However, there were policies that often prevented people from getting what they wanted… and often those policies did not make sense even to us. There were also staff shortages and work load issues that resulted in people not having their cases completed timely. Race was not the issue, but what I came to conclude was that when things do not make sense, and people feel ill-treated, people look for simple explanations that explain why. And unfortunately race is one of the first things we notice about people that we do not know, and so it is also one of the first things to get blamed whenever we have a negative experience interacting with people of other races.

In less politically correct times, it use to be said that all Chinese people look alike. My wife tells me that Chinese people have said the same thing about white people. In fact, in Vietnam, I recall hearing about an American GI that was convicted of some crime on the basis of the testimony of some Vietnamese civilians. He was later proven to be innocent, but when asked why they identified him as the one who had committed the crime, they said "How can you tell one from another? They all look alike." Of course, if you aren’t use to seeing Asians, their distinctive features are all that you notice. However, if you spend a lot of time around Asians, and get to know them, soon you discover that they don’t all look alike.

Likewise, if a white man were to car jack another white man, the first thing the white man would be thinking was not that all white people were not to be trusted, but rather than some dirty scumbag had stole his car. However, if a black man car jacked him, he would be far more likely to reach conclusions about black people in general. The same is true in reverse.

Prejudice, to some extent, is a survival characteristic that is hard wired in our brains. If we eat pickled herring, and we get sick, we will likely be prejudiced against that kind of fish. That would be less likely to happen, if we had been eating pickled herring all of our life. We would be more likely able to distinguish between the bad experience with that particular pickled herring, and pickled herring in general. If we run across a skunk, and trying to pet it, we will likely be prejudiced against skunks for life. However, as rational human beings, we should be aware of this tendency towards hasty generalizations based on particular experiences, and resist that temptation when it comes to entire groups of people.

Certainly, we should expect that elected representatives would have more sense than to encourage such prejudice.

In Houston, all Houstonians are moved by the suffering they see. Everyone is asking what they can do to help. Millions of dollars were raised on a radio station in the space of a few hours, at the spur of the moment. Whites, Hispanics, Asians, Blacks, and all the various combinations thereof that make up Houston are trying to help all of those who are streaming into our city in need of help. People are opening up their homes to complete strangers.

In New Orleans, rescuers of all stripes are risking their lives to save people of different races. Just as with Americans on the battlefield, people are willing to die to save people that have neither race, nor creed in common with them.

What a shame it is then, to see certain Democrats trying to make political hay by taking the cheap political shots of accusing people of being racists. How completely anti-American this is.

Those who are suffering, are suffering not because they are black, pink, or green, but because of a natural disaster that turned out to be more devastating than was originally thought, and a large bureaucracy has had many inexplicable inefficiencies and simply mishandled many aspects of the disaster… which of course pundits, sitting safely on their butts can analyze and comment on, as if they would have handled it so much better had they been the ones actually trying to organize such a massive effort, in a chaotic situation, made worse by the “Big Easy” "laissez les bon temps rouler [Let the good times roll]" attitude that makes Louisiana both charming, and irritatingly French (and all that goes with being French).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Shows Hole in Texas Welfare Safety Net

Today, in the Houston area, Welfare offices were flooded with Hurricane Refugees seeking Food Stamps. The offices were so overwhelmed that lines wrapped around the buildings.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has not hired any new permanent Case Workers in 4 years. And after announcing the time tables and scope of its plans to privatize most of the work that the agency does, and consolidating that work to 4 call centers (none of which will be in the Houston Region), staff have been flooding out the door. This month I joined that flood, and so am no longer with that agency either.

As things stood, the agency did not have sufficient staff to meet the needs of Texans, under normal circumstances. Now, the system is being stressed beyond its ability to cope with the demands placed upon it. August was the highest month ever for staff retiring and resigning, and now those who remain are asked to do more than ever.

This weekend, which was expected to be a three day weekend for those beleaguered workers, will now be more than a full time schedule at work.

On Saturday, Houston area offices will be opened from 8:00 am to 8 PM. On Sunday, they will be open from 10:00 am to 6 pm, and on Labor Day, they will again be opened from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

The question that has to be asked at this point is, what things would be like if the Houston region had 30% of the staff it currently has, with fewer and smaller offices than it has today? You may say that this is a once in a life time event, but we had similar (though admittedly smaller scale) crises in 1994 and 2001, due to local area flooding. In those cases, we had the staff to handle the job, but we would not have been able to have handled it with the staff the agency plans on down-sizing to.

One thing's for sure, National Guardsmen do not know how to work a Food Stamp case, and issue benefits on an EBT Card.

There are a lot of people who never thought they would be applying for Food Stamps that were standing in line today. No one along the Gulf Coast should be too sure that it won't be them, one of these days.

Keep your eyes on this story over the next few weeks and months.


Refugees seeking food stamps, jobs

By Jesse W. Coleman Friday, September 2, 2005 2:39 PM CDT

Phyllis Waiters of New Orleans never believed she'd be applying for food stamps.

The mother of three adult children has worked all her life. Waiters and her husband spent many, many years working for Amstar Sugar Corp. (Domino Sugar).

But on Thursday and Friday, Waiters found herself among several hundred refugees from Louisiana trying to get foot stamps at the Texas Department of Human Services in Rosenberg.

Waiters is like several thousand New Orleans evacuees who are stranded in Rosenberg and other Texas locations after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Forced to leave her home Sunday as a result of a mandatory evacuation order, Waiters and eight family members, including her daughter and 3-year-old granddaughter, Mignon Nelson, came to Rosenberg to stay with extended family.

Five days later, a proud Waiters said she and her family feel as if they are a burden. She is trying to at least help with the food necessities until she can find shelter.


Waiters' predicament is that she did not bring a lot of cash with her, her credit cards are at their limits and she has funds in a New Orleans credit union that she cannot access.

"My husband is stuck in Florida in a similar situation," said Waiters, who also evacuated her home last year when Hurricane Ivan threatened the city.

"He (her husband) went to pick up one of our daughters from school."

Waiters was at the food stamp office in Rosenberg from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, and returned Friday morning as the line grew longer.

The Rosenberg police and fire marshal were at location location Friday assisting. Police placed barricades up to keep the line orderly and controlled traffic in the area.

"Everything as been peaceful and orderly," said Carol Rees, public information officer for Rosenberg police Friday morning.

Rosenberg police along with other Rosenberg-Richmond businesses and neighbors, provided water, other refreshments and sandwiches for evacuees.

Among them was Richmond resident Wilson Sherrod, who distributed crackers and water for the kids.

"We just wanted to help," said Sherrod, who was joined by several other people.

That's what the state agencies are trying to do as well.

Gwen Robinson, a program manager for the Rosenberg office of the Texas Department of Human Services, said several hundred Louisiana residents applied for service at the Rosenberg office Thursday.

"The help we provide them is with our food stamp program, and if they are here and they don't have access to their income or other resources, they need food assistance and then that's how we can help them," said Robinson.

She said they have seen some people who are living in shelters and some who are living with family and friends - all need assistance.

Robinson said when they are able to help, people are given food stamp debit cards that can be used in most grocery stores to purchase food.

Because of the disaster situation, they are going to work with refugees in every way possible and work as fast as possible to help.

"All of our employees are working overtime and they will be working overtime as long as we need to to deliver the services," said Robinson. "And it's not just in this office. All of our employees are working overtime trying to deliver services."

She said they are also trying to do all they can to help the residents of Fort Bend County.

"We doing our best to service both groups," said Robinson. "Our staff has been great dealing with all of our clients in the county as well as the people who have been displaced by the storm."

She said they just need everyone to be patient.

Robinson also praised local churches and other members of the community and law enforcement agencies who have been coming to the parking lot, serving refreshments and food for those people in need.

The visitors are also trying to find work.

Yolanda McLin, of the Worksource in Rosenberg, said more than 50 Louisiana evacuees came into the facility Thursday asking for assistance with employment.

"We have been busy, but not that busy," said McLin.

She said the Worksource's goal is to help people find work by getting people to work with the counselor, help with unemployment benefits and give referrals for jobs.

Waiters's story wasn't too different than the many, many other people at the food stamp office.

Tyrone Alexander, a construction supply employee, evacuated with his wife, daughter and nephew and are staying with relatives in Rosenberg. Patrice August-Louper, an independent Realtor who fled the storm with her daughter, and Tracy Hill, a shipyard contractor, all are among the people looking for a way to purchase food.