The New Waveland Café and New Waveland Clinic together formed a disaster response center consisting of a combination café, soup kitchen, medical clinic, donation center, and market, that operated free of charge from September 5 to December 1, 2005 in immediate Post-Katrina Mississippi Gulf Coast in Waveland, Hancock County, Mississippi. The cafe and clinic were founded in response to Hurricane Katrina and provided free food and free medical care to hurricane victims for three months. They were located in tents in the parking lot of Fred's Department Store at 790 Hwy 90 in Waveland, across the street from the destroyed and gutted Waveland Police Department. The New Waveland Cafe served three free meals every day to thousands of residents and volunteers. The New Waveland Clinic provided free health care to over 5,500 patient contacts. As well, a group of hippies and Christians came together to form a unique group which worked together to provide emergency relief.
Impact of Katrina
Hancock County is an ocean-side county situated in Southern Mississippi. As such, it has a long history of hurricanes. In 1969 the county was leveled by Hurricane Camille.
In 2000 the county had a population of 42,967. A vast majority of this population was exposed to the harsh effects of Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the US Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005 as a Category 3 hurricane. The town of Waveland was destroyed and has been described as "worst punishment Katrina could mete out". Official reports stated that approximately 50 people died when Waveland was hit directly by the eyewall of Katrina and the 32-foot (9.8 m) storm surge. Hurricane Katrina came ashore during the high tide of 8:01 am, +2.2 feet more. Hurricane Katrina damaged over 40 Mississippi libraries. The Waveland Public Library was a total loss requiring a complete rebuild.
The cafe originated when friends from the Rainbow Family began to communicate with each other about a possible response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Rainbow Family are best known for the Rainbow Gathering, a large, primitive type camping event in which up to 20,000 people attend. Those who attend these gatherings have become skilled at making and serving food for extremely large groups of people for long periods of time and in very basic situations. The cafe operated free of charge and was supported solely by donations. The cafe served up to 4000 meals three times a day. The volunteers who built the cafe were Bastrop, TX church members and later operated by attendees of Rainbow Gatherings. As attendees of Rainbow Gatherings, the cafe volunteers often appeared to look like hippies. They were reported to have "piercings" and "dreadlocks".
The New Waveland Clinic was a temporary emergency clinic set up by Brad "Baruch" Stone on August 28, 2005 and housed in tents. Stone used his skills as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and previous experiences as a volunteer coordinator at the CALM Medical Clinic in order to build and administrate the clinic. The clinic recruited volunteer doctors, Physician Assistants, medical students, nurses, pharmacists, EMTs, and paramedics from different parts of the United States to volunteer for a week at a time. Medications and medical tools were donated by dozens of organizations including Pfizer, which donated the majority of the medications used. During its three months of operation, the clinic had over 5,500 documented patient encounters.
The clinic was equipped and staffed by physicians specializing in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry. The clinic operated primarily as a walk-in clinic where patients could see a doctor for all complaints and receive free medication. Due to the lack of a functioning emergency room the clinic was sometimes utilized as a facility to stabilize a patient while an ambulance was en route to transport the patient to an emergency room. The closest hospitals were 42 miles (68 km) to the west at the Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe, Louisiana or the Northshore Medical Center in Slidell, Louisiana, or 35 miles (56 km) to the east at the Gulfport Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi. The local hospital, Hancock County Medical Center, was incapacitated due to the hurricane. There were no X-ray or blood laboratory available with the exception of urinalysis testing strips and glucometers. As such physicians were described to be practicing battlefield medicine in a M.A.S.H. unit.
A unique bond between two very disparate groups was formed as a result of the hurricane. Two groups, the Bastrop Christian Outreach Center (BCOC) and attendees of the counter-culture Rainbow Gathering, arrived around the same time in Waveland. The BCOC efforts were led by Reverend Colonel Pete and Fay Jones who were among some of the first responders. Each group represented very different philosophies and had little common faith, each was able to put aside their differences and focus entirely on their humanitarian efforts. The cooperation between the two groups was described as "unlikely", a "bunch of hippies and evangelical Christians" and the "unlikeliest of bedfellows".
As all buildings and structures were destroyed due to the high winds and flooding, the entire relief effort took place under temporary, tent-based structures. The cafe was housed in a large geodesic dome, usually found at the Burning Man festival.
The clinic originally started with two tents purchased at a supermarket. After 3 weeks of operation a 20-foot-long (6.1 m), 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) tent was donated and erected. A month later an additional 40-foot-long (12 m), 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) was added on.
- Video Documentary on the New Waveland Cafe & Clinic
- Video of Prof. Sam LeBaron regarding the New Waveland Clinic
- "The un-organization - Rising from Ruin". MSNBC. 2005-11-01. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
One of the great ironies in the landscape of Katrina recovery efforts is the success of the New Waveland Café
- "Hippies wave goodbye - Rising from Ruin". MSNBC. 2005-11-26. Archived from the original on 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
Despite rain, volunteers from the New Waveland Cafe paraded along Highway 90 in a rousing goodbye to the community on the cafe's last day of operation
- Schalch, Kathleen (2005-11-23). "Hippie Kitchens Serve Final Meal to Hurricane Victims". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
With years of experience serving throngs at festivals, many do-gooder hippies converged on Mississippi's Gulf Coast after the hurricanes to cook for the needy
- Ilel, Neille (2006-12-01). "A Healthy Dose of Anarchy: After Katrina, nontraditional, decentralized relief steps in where big government and big charity failed". Reason. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
Dubbed the New Waveland Café, the operation didn't just feed residents. It encouraged them to participate in cooking, cleaning, and other details that went into running the aid effort, transforming the helped into helpers
- Hundt, Tim; Matt Johnson (2005-10-05). "Youth Initiative, Organic Valley help feed masses in hurricane-torn south". Vernon Broadcaster. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
"We probably served 500-600 people," Dawn Hundt said "We would get up and start cooking and go until we dropped." And, thus, the New Waveland Café was born.
Borenstein, Seth; Chris Adams. "Health problems abound months after Katrina roared ashore". Knight Ridder Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
"It's a cumulative effect here," said Claire Gilbert, a New Orleans surgical technician who works in a Louisiana occupational medical practice and volunteered at the New Waveland Clinic, a tent shelter complex that just closed in Mississippi.
- "Churchgoers, hippies combine to help on Coast". Hattiesburg American. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
At the New Waveland Cafe, a combination soup kitchen, donation depot and medical clinic for survivors of Hurricane Katrina, volunteer groups of God-fearing churchgoers and free-spirit hippies have formed a bond - a result, they say, of working together toward the greater good
- Loh Harrist, Eileen (2005-10-19). "With A Little Help From My Friends: Waveland's Getting By". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
In Waveland, Miss., the little town that arguably received the worst punishment Katrina could mete out, those credited with the swiftest response are not disaster-relief groups or government agencies, but a bunch of hippies and a rock band
- "2005 NOAA Tide Predictions: Waveland". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- "Hurricane Katrina Related Damages to Public Libraries in Mississippi" (PDF). Mississippi Library Commission. September 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 31, 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- Mehren, Elizabeth (2005-11-23). "A Gospel and Granola Bond". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
But about three months after they got here, the Rainbow Family volunteers and the Texas church delegation are preparing to head home. They will serve a grand banquet on Thanksgiving Day -- turkey with all the trimmings, which at the Waveland Village Cafe includes steamed seaweed. Over the holiday weekends they will hold a parade
- Hutkin, Erinn (2005-11-18). "M.A.S.H. in Miss". The Roanoke Times. Archived from the original on 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
Since Hurricane Katrina hit in August, this medical tent has been here -- on the edge of a parking lot in Waveland, Miss., nine miles from Kiln -- open seven days a week for 12 hours or more
- "Undergraduate Provides Medical Aid in Rural Mississippi". Harvard Extension School Newsletter. Archived from the original on 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
I ran a free, tent-based medical clinic. I was there for three months, from five days after Katrina to December 3
"Mississippi's Forgotten Opens First Medical Clinic" (Press release). 2005-11-28. Archived from the original on 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
The clinic is to be the Bradley Stone Waveland Clinic, named in honor of Brad Stone, a pre-medical student from Harvard, who, with the help of other out-of-state volunteers, set up a medical clinic in a parking lot that was active for almost three months, saw over 5000 patients and provide basic healthcare that was nowhere else available
- "Family medicine specialist brings classroom to Katrina". Stanford Hospital and Clinic Medical Staff Update. Stanford University. 29 (11). December 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
It's been two months since family medicine faculty member Samuel LeBaron, professor of medicine (family and community medicine), returned from providing a week of health-care relief in Mississippi with six Stanford medical students
- Hutkin, Erinn (2005-11-18). "M.A.S.H. in Miss". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
The medical tent is run by Brad Stone, a 25-year-old man with a beard, glasses and a woven poncho. He is an EMT who came here from Chicago
- Boyd, Kate Crady. "Called to Live the Gospel". Texas Episcopalian. Retrieved 2009-04-24.[dead link] Retrieved on 13 April 2009.
- "Rainbow Family creates community". Indiana University School of Journalism. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
Martin, Andrew (2005-11-20). "Amid ruin, 'a beautiful thing'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
The New Waveland Cafe and Market is one of the most curious yet inspiring stories to emerge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina