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September 6, 2005 Waveland, MS

Leslie...She introduced herself as one of the producers of the Oprah show specifically assigned to me...We huddled with a camera and sound person and quickly discussed our direction...With an endless amount of needs to be met for the people down here, our next goal was where and what? Leslie downloaded me on the conditions in Waveland, MS...how it was one of the hardest hit by the hurricane and had the most direct devastation of physical property (remember, the hurricane and the New Orleans flooding are related but separate devastations)...90 percent of the structures were wiped out in this gulfline community...alive and deceased were still being found...This became our assignment: Get to Waveland, cover the reality, [and] in precisely that, the stories lie...We were off.

When I left California for the Gulf area, I didn't know how I could best be of service...Was I going to hand out water at shelters? Was I going to grab a chainsaw and open up doorways in homes for people trapped inside? I did not know...As our mission matured it was apparent that my ideals of necessary service were valid and relevant, but not the best use of my personal time...The best use of my time was going to be in an arena that served others while using my strengths as well...Me and the Oprah team were going to Waveland to find stories...to report the "news" of what was happening, to the places, and to the people...to show people the reality, so they might better understand it, to help bring attention through individuals, which will hopefully compel others to serve these people in need, through giving their time, donations and prayers....

While every story we have pursued has taken directions we never planned for, that seems to be just the point...after such a drastic change in so many lives, the future becomes very fluid, and every story has a life of its own....

So here's how I got here and this is what we've been doing...I look forward to sharing more very soon...so in the meantime and every time,

Just keep livin, McConaughey

Take a look at my photo diary.
FROM: Oprah on Location: Inside the Katrina Catastrophe
Published on September 15, 2005

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