Find the ‘feeling' again

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, August 30, 2006

By Staff
I experienced Katrina. Not in the physical sense, but through emotions and images as described by relative newcomers to Brewton.
Ann and Roger Lee along with their children, Anthony and Victoria, came to Brewton a year ago by chance and by necessity. A year later, they are here because of a newfound hometown.
I've often wondered how folks come to live in Brewton. Our own Bruce Hixon is still relatively new in Brewton. He came here from Salem, Ill., which is only 70 miles east of St. Louis. Although Salem wasn't very big by some standards, he certainly lived close enough to other big cities to make him a &#8220big city” person in my book.
He found us on the map, checked it out and decided it would be a great place to live. He says it gave him a chance to experience something different in a different region without snow and ice and below zero temperatures. So now, he calls Brewton home. Go figure.
Ann and Roger Lee didn't have quite the same experience in coming to Brewton. They were evacuees from Chalmette, La., a suburb of New Orleans when Katrina arrived one year ago yesterday.
Although the family didn't come straight to Brewton, they did make it here in one piece. You'll read about part of their story on the front page of today's paper. It's only part of the story.
As I interviewed them yesterday, I decided that living in a big city, no matter what part of the country it's in, is not all it's cracked up to be.
When Ivan struck here a few years back, we had the luxury of having friends and family around us that were able to loan us a generator, cook us a meal or just share a good talk while we waited for electricity to be restored. The Lee's didn't have that luxury.
The Lees lived in a neighborhood where they didn't even know the people who lived across the street. Ann explained that with the hustle and bustle and many activities in their city, they just didn't have the time to get to know their neighbors.
Funny, when they came to Brewton, they didn't find any strangers. When they got here, there was a house, clothes, food and new friends waiting on them.
Roger told me he loved this place and the people here because they were welcomed with open arms and outstretched hands. Ann explained that it wasn't just the town, or even just the people, but it was a feeling she got.
I myself have experienced that feeling here. I grew up here but I did live elsewhere for about 15 years then moved back here. And just as Ann explained, when I came back to Brewton in 1997, it was just a feeling I had.
If you have lived in Brewton all of your life, or for at least as long as you can remember, you may have gotten used to the &#8220feeling”. My challenge to you is to get out and talk to the people next door, strike up a conversation with someone in line at the grocery store. Chances are you'll get that warm, friendly &#8220feeling” again.
Lisa Tindell is a news writer for The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by email at