Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A NOLA evacuee thanks Houston

OK, this is going to be a little self-congratulatory, but, well, so be it. This Chronicle op-ed letter from Sunday really touched me, and I wanted to pass it along.

So many to thank

Thank you, Houston! We arrived here four months ago knowing virtually no one. Now we have re-established family ties, rediscovered a religious community and are blessed to forge new friendships that will last a lifetime. Houston's generosity and warmth were constantly on display — from your city government and civic institutions to businesses and individual citizens.

Thanks to the company that gave us so much help as we set up temporary offices with them. Thanks to the technology firm that stayed with us until we were up and running. Thanks to the family who adopted us on the very first day and never let us go and to the one who invited us to dinner our first weekend here and many after that.

Thanks to those who welcomed us into their homes for the holidays and treated our children as their own. Thanks to the many who lent us furniture, gave us guidance, befriended us with introductions and made us feel so welcome.

Thanks to the Jewish community here that made us feel as though we had lived here for decades. Thanks to our cousins and other new-found family members for bridging the gap. And to the total strangers who took the time to give us a kind word, including one heartwarming note left on the car's windshield just because we had a Louisiana license plate!

Thanks to an Episcopal church that housed a New Orleans school. Thanks to a Jewish school in Houston that took in New Orleans' students. You all are truly blessed.

Our experience was not unique. All over this city, New Orleanians of all walks of life have been taken in, housed, helped and guided by kind Houstonians. We've gone back home to New Orleans, and we hope we can take a little bit of Houston back with us: your big-heartedness and can-do spirit and your generosity.

ROBERT M. STEEG, New Orleans, La.

Keep up the spirit, Houston: Open City, USA.


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