Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaTwo days prior to our trip, there was an odd sense of peace that overtook the group.  We still had camera equipment to prep, gifts to buy, presents to wrap, crafts to set up, and a hall to decorate.  But despite all of this, there was peace.  This was a tremendous precursor to what laid ahead.

Friday morning came faster than expected.  Before we knew it, we were on a plane to Alabama – it’s really happening! Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaAt 11:30 a.m. we arrived at the Mobile airport, and after dropping our bags off at the hotel, we needed to make a quick stop at the United Way of Southwest Alabama.  It was time to finally meet the team that diligently helped us for so many months! Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama

After loading up the vans at United Way with presents, crafts, and decorations, we drove 45 minutes to the small coastal town of Bayou La Batre.

Once there, we met David and Grace from Boat People SOS – a community-based organization whose mission it is to help the numerous families devastated by the Gulf Oil Spill.

We unloaded the vans as quickly as we possibly could!  After that, we eagerly jumped back on the road to catch a glimpse of the Bayou before sundown.  David and a few of his friends from Boat People SOS walked us through the havoc wreaked upon this once thriving Alabama town.  First Hurricane Katrina, and now this.  What more could Bayou La Batre endure? Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaFrom inside the vans, we could see water in the distance.  As we started our way across the draw bridge, everything was somber.  There were abandoned ships, closed boat making facilities, and closed oyster and shrimp cleaning shops.  The Bayou was a ghost town.  The devastation that we heard so much about was now staring us in the face: sixty percent of families without jobs and nowhere to go…

The next 24 hours were a blur- we were setting up and decorating the hall, gift wrapping presents, prepping the craft stations, setting up Christmas movies to play on a big screen, and making sure Christmas music could be heard by all.  By midnight on Friday, we were almost completely set up.  Exhausted and emotionally drained (but excited at the same time!), we drove back to our hotel in Mobile to get a few hours of rest before Saturday’s event. Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama
7:00 a.m. came bright and early. Time to regroup with the team for breakfast (we’d need it!) and to go over the final details of the event!  Craft tutorials, last minute purchases, snack table setup, and photo station prep…

At 2:00 p.m. the event started.  Needless to say, everything couldn’t have gone more perfectly.  We had a blast helping the kids make soap snow balls, edible Christmas trees, Christmas angel ornaments, and greeting cards.  We’re pretty sure the kids enjoyed it too Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama


Dinner was delicious, Santa was merry, family photos came out great, presents were well received, and fun was had by all – the holiday party was a major success!  And the best part, we got to hear some amazingly touching stories of heartache and triumph from many hard working Alabama boating families.

Thank you for following us through this uplifting experience – and stay tuned for great video clips from the entire trip!

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7 Responses to Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama

  1. Lynn Blessing says:

    While sending Christmas cards I just happened to see a pic at the bottom of the page and something about Bayou LaBatre, AL. When I clicked on your blog and saw what you have done, I was overwhelmed. I lived nearby, on Dauphin Island (also devastatedmy Ivan, Katrina & Rita) for 14 years and I know how badly the people in that area were affected. There was so much news about New Orleans (who could have avoided most of their misery from Katrina) and Biloxi, but all the smaller coastal towns, some wiped off the face of the earth, were never mentioned. They never received enough help to pick up and rebuild after the hurricanes and then the oil spill hit. Thank you. Thanks you SO MUCH, from the bottom of my heart. I know you made a tremendous impact of those folks. They must have felt completely abandoned by everyone and on their own. God bless you all.

  2. Don Morrison says:

    Great for you to do this especially during the Holidays
    Don Morrison

  3. Marjorie French says:

    How wonderful that the folks of this community were given an opportunity for a grand Christmas celebration to lift their spirits at a time when it was badly needed. Good Job Blue Mountain!!!!! I hope others follow your example because there is still much to be done there. Keep up the good work!!

  4. Rose Marie Harris says:

    Its refreshing to know that there are still people who care for each other. Most of us have forgotten that event and moved on with our lives, thinking little of the persons who in that community are left with the “AFTERWARD” when all the cries and noise are over. It must be heart wrenching for those who are left behind, some with no jobs, some who are the only breadwinners in the family, some who may never be able to face the challenges of taking care of their families because some have already taken the easy way out. Its a tough world out there and many of us do not have the backbone to see it through. Job well done guys, I hope some other person, group or organisation will take a cue and add their efforts to make another life worth living for.

  5. Sharon Gerstman says:

    Thank you so much for all you have done to make this holiday happier for all these families. We have vacationed in this area many times and we were devastated for them and their loss. I hope the other small towns were taken care of in a similar manner. The gulf area is such a beautiful place and it’s wonderful to know beautiful people are taking their time to help these in troubled times.

  6. Greta Bader says:

    You have a great mitzah(great deed). Reaching out and helping when a disaster has occured. May G-d bless y’all.
    Greta Bader

  7. Janet Johnson says:

    Wonderful of you folks at Blue Mountain to do this for these devastated families. We live 70 miles North of the Gulf Coast, in Petal, MS. Yes, many people have forgotten the people in MS, Louisiana, and Alabama. The oil spill was a complete devastation for the people who make their living on the water and there is still plenty of oil present, despite what the “news” reports. Good on ya!

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