31 August 2005

A text message from Baton Rouge

From: Simms-Thomas, Lisa
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 12:02 PM

Subject: RE: Hurricane Update from Lisa Simms-Thomas - I'm OK!
Importance: High

Good Afternoon ISS Team, Colleagues & Friends,

Personal Update and Where I am: First and foremost, I am OK......Praise
GOD! I am still in the shelter with sporadic use of electricity. My
blackberry receives a signal from time-to-time and I can see that my cell
phone has well over 70 voice mails that I am unable to retrieve due to
overloaded circuits and lack of towers. With all of that said, I have been
advised by officials that my neighborhood did receive a great deal of water
damage, structural damage and there is still no electricity. Currently, the
city does not foresee electricity being restored until about a week or so
for about 70,000 to 80,000 people. Nevertheless, the shelter officials will
allow the Baton Rouge folks the opportunity to leave today as they must make
room for all of the folks that are in the Super Dome that will be coming to
the Baton Rouge area.
Where I Reside: Just so you know, I do live in Baton Rouge, which was
not hit as hard as New Orleans. However, my neighborhood is on the outside
of the city (East Baton Rouge Parish - closest to New Orleans) which is why
I think we may have a little more water and structural damage than those
folks in Central Baton Rouge Parish.
Family Contact: I have made contact with my husband a few times since
the hurricane. He is currently in route to Baton Rouge but is having to
show ID at many check points as proof that he lives in Baton Rouge, LA. I
hope that by the time he shows up, he will be well rested and that we are
allowed back into our neighborhood as his "honey-do" list will be quite long
(I'm sure)......SMILE! As stated before, my Momma is still OK, as she lives
in the northern part of the state near the two North LA Nelnet Campus
Directors.........Thank GOD!
My Personal Thoughts: This is truly surreal, but I count myself as
BLESSED! The devastation is more than you can image and everyone has a
story that will truly touch you soul. I know that you all see the
happenings on TV, but it is totally different when you are in the midst of
the situation as I am sure many Floridian's understand.
On a Lighter Note: I have made many friends here in the shelter as we
now share a common unfortunate event. Oh, I did pass out some apples that I
had collected! I have also been performing many beauty makeovers for
fun. Yes, my makeup and hair products came in handy and made me feel good
that I was able to distract peoples attention from what was going on at the
moment. Not to mention, I now have new ways to cheat at UNO, thanks to some
"little people" here in the shelter. Wow, it's amazing what you can learn
during your Nelnet ETO (vacation).
My Thanks: Thanks to everyone that has sent an email, made a phone call
or said a prayer. I was touched when I finally saw my email in-box with
well over 100 emails from people checking on me and my family's safety. I
am so touched by everyone's concern and out pouring of love during this time
of distress. Please continue to keep me and everyone that has been touched
by this devastating hurricane in your prayers. Well, I gotta go now, so I
can pack my car and attempt to make it home. I will provide another update
after I have assessed my home situation!

Blessed To Know Each of YOU,
Lisa

P.S. Please feel free to pass this email to anyone that has inquired about
my safety.

Lisa Simms-Thomas
Nelnet Integrated Solutions
1-877-928-8552
lisa.simms-thomas@nelnet.net

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