CASSANDRA JENKINS — Community shares positive stories in Hurricane Laura aftermath

Published 7:59 am Wednesday, September 2, 2020

There is always a bright spot, and Southeast Texans are pros at finding the good in every bad situation. The aftermath of Hurricane Laura is no different.

We saw it after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

We saw it after the TPC explosions in Port Neches, and we continue to see the goodness in humanity after every natural or man-made disaster.

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Nicole Robinson, a Nederland resident, saw it Thursday evening standing in line at the Mid-County H-E-B.

“We went to pick up some food that wouldn’t require chilling since they were estimating prolonged power outages,” she said. “Their generator died while we were in the first aisle.”

What happened after surprised and shocked her.

“There were no cranky people, employees or fellow customers,” she said. “People were cheerful and patient with each other. I had some great small talk conversations with perfect strangers while I was grabbing some food in the near dark and standing in line waiting to pay.”

Robinson said everyone bonded over the same frustration of unknown power outages.

“We were all thankful that H-E-B was open and that it was a nice, cool break from home,” she said. “The cheerful, positive atmosphere in the store that evening was nearly as nice as the remaining cool air from their A/C.”

Elisabeth Tatum, a Port Neches resident, also shared a post from Golden Croissant co-owner Anita Nguyen that inspired kindness and hospitality.

“Hey Lamar students,” the post read. “If you still do not have power and are needing a place with free WiFi for school, I’ll be opening up the Golden Croissant dining room (Tuesday). It’ll be quiet. I’ll make coffee.”

Lamar University in Beaumont resumed classes Monday, although many faculty and staff are still displaced or without power.

Nguyen said she simply wanted to help where she could.

“Seeing how frustrated the students are with the university, how insensitive it is to open so quickly, I just felt bad and compelled to help in anyway,” she said. “If there is someway I can help, even just one person, it’s worth it.”

Scrolling through Facebook or Twitter or just watching or reading the local news, goodness is found everywhere.

There are photos of children cleaning up debris at a neighbor’s house, local sports teams lifting trees out of people’s yards and plenty of community members asking where to donate supplies to residents in Lake Charles.

We can’t keep disasters from happening, but we can control how we react to them.

Cassandra Jenkins is a news reporter for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at