With Texas still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, the city of New Orleans took out a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday with a heartwarming letter addressed to residents of the Longhorn State.
“To our friends in Texas,” the letter begins. “Twelve years ago, you took in hundreds of thousands of us. You opened your homes, closets, and kitchens. You found schools for our kids and jobs to tide us over. Some of us are still there. And when the rest of the world told us not to rebuild, you told us not to listen. Keep our city and traditions alive.”
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina breached levees and flood walls around New Orleans, killing more than 1,800 people and causing catastrophic damage.
Last month, Harvey caused widespread flooding in Houston, drenching southeast Texas with historic rainfall and causing at least 71 deaths. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott estimated that it will cost $180 billion to rebuild from the storm — even more than the $108 billion in damage caused by Katrina.
— Matt Schwartz (@SchwartzChron) September 10, 2017
“Now, no two storms are the same,” the letter reads. “Comparing rising waters is a waste of energy when you need it most. But know this — in our darkest hour, we found peace and a scorching, bright light of hope with our friends in Texas. And we hope you’ll find the same in us.”
Our doors are open. Our clothes come in every size. There’s hot food on the stove, and our cabinets are well-stocked. We promise to always share what we have.
Soon, home will feel like home again, even if it seems like a lifetime away. We’ll be battling for football recruits under the Friday night lights. You’ll tell us to stop trying to barbeque. We’ll tell you to lay off your crawfish boil and come have the real thing. But for as long as you need, we’re here to help.
The way of life you love the most will carry on. You taught us that. Your courage and care continues to inspire our whole city. We couldn’t be more proud to call you our neighbors, our friends, and our family. Texas forever. We’re with you.
The letter, signed “New Orleans,” was created by the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.
“We obviously have a lot of emotion around this storm,” NOTMC President Mark Romig told Yahoo News. “Texas has been a big brother, big sister to us — not only for Katrina. It has always reached out its hand.”
Romig said the ad was a simple expression of solidarity.
“It wasn’t ‘Call us for reservations,'” he said.
Andrew Hunter — a New Orleans native with New York City-based ad agency 360i — penned the letter, which will also run an upcoming edition of Texas Monthly.
If Katrina victims felt bound to those caught in Harvey’s path, Harvey victims are likely feeling the same way about the millions of Floridians affected by Hurricane Irma, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Sunday.
A celebrity telethon for Hurricane Harvey relief on Tuesday will now also benefit the victims of Irma, organizers said.
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