A Taste of Home for New Orleans Hurricane Survivors
Written by Shannon M. Garry , Special to Redcross.org
HOUSTON – Some of life's simplest pleasures, often taken for granted in the course of busy days, can mean so much
following a disaster -- like a cup of your favorite coffee.
Hurricane Katrina survivor and New Orleans evacuee Bob Muir, known now to fellow survivors at the Houston Astrodome as
“Uncle Bob,” knows that well. Nearly three weeks after setting up house in the Astrodome, then relocating next door to
the Reliant Center, Muir’s positive outlook persists. He’s established himself as an unofficial volunteer, serving a
special blend of New Orleans coffee – at his own expense – to fellow evacuees, volunteers and law enforcement officials.
While shelter families prepare to call it a day, Muir sets up his cart – loaded with percolator, ground coffee and cups
– to begin brewing his blend in the wee hours of the morning for hundreds in the shelter, many of whom recognize the
brand as one popular back home.
“They wake up with a smile and get a taste of New Orleans,” Muir said,
The slight, 66-year-old retiree has lived in Houston shelters since being forced from his home in St. Bernard Parish,
New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. Pushed by 16-foot flood waters in the aftermath of the
hurricane, Muir waited in the rafters of his shed until his nephew rescued him by boat. Still, Muir considers himself
one of the richest men in Houston.
“Every time you make a friend, you get rich,” he said. “I’ve got so many friends it’s pitiful.”
For Muir, providing a memory of home to fellow survivors is a labor of love.
“My days pass faster, and I like to see people smile. We take care of each other—that’s the only way to live,” Muir
said, as he shakes hands with a woman lying on cot nearby. “Their name might be Ann Brown. It might be Jim Green. But we
all have the same name behind it – Survivor.”
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the
American people. You can help the victims of this disaster and thousands of other disasters across the country each year
by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide
shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).
Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red
Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting