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'Vent Tent' Offered Many Support in a Storm

Kathy Hurley Asher of Waveland, Mississippi, seeks solace in the "Vent Tent" from Dr. Thomas Peavy, a volunteer counselor.  Asher lost two homes, her hometown and several friends to Hurricane Katrina.
Howard Berkes, NPR
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Kathy Hurley Asher of Waveland, Mississippi, seeks solace in the "Vent Tent" from Dr. Thomas Peavy, a volunteer counselor. Asher lost two homes, her hometown and several friends to Hurricane Katrina.

Waveland, Miss., has suffered profoundly from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina... but thankfully, not always in silence. For four weeks, amid the rubble of a Catholic church, a hand-scrawled sign invited entrance to the "Vent Tent." There, people who lost nearly everything to the storm and have struggled through a painful aftermath, were given a chance to tell their stories to trained counselors.

After service to more than 300 visitors, the tent is closing this weekend. Local counseling programs and churches will step in.

Dr. Thomas Peavy, a professor of counseling and psychology, spent time as a "Vent Tent" volunteer. His hope? That despite "damage and death to hopes and dreams and futures," those who retain "the ability to look at this tragedy and move forward" will have found "new hope, new future and new direction in life."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Howard Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.