51% Show #1212

Oct 5, 2012

51% Episode 1212
Oct 4, 2012

Unless you’ve been in a natural disaster, it’s really hard to understand its true impact. Whether it’s Hurricane Katrina, Colorado wildfires, the drought of 2012 or the worst storm damage in years in Ohio, the people affected deal with the aftermath long after the news crews pack up and go home.

In New York’s Catskills, it’s been just over a year since Tropical Storm Irene roared up from the south. Prattsville, a farm community in Greene County, was labeled by Governor Andrew Cuomo as the hardest hit in the region. It was, basically, wiped out when the Schoharie Creek jumped its banks. A torrent that experts say was equivalent to the volume tumbling over Niagara Falls wiped out most of the main street.

A year later, there’s been some rebuilding, but I was stunned by the devastation that still remains. This week, I spoke with two women working to help rebuild Prattsville, women who say they now better understand the victims of other natural disasters.

First, Kristin Tompkins.  She’s a teacher at the local school, and she’s volunteered to work with planners and developers working on a blueprint for a new Prattsville.

5:42  Kristin Tompkins, Prattsville  Barnett

Kristin Tompkins is a Prattsville NY native, a teacher and a volunteer in Prattsville’s rebuilding plan. If you’d like to help out or learn more, visit the town website at prattsville.org/rebuilding.

Up next, using the arts to help heal a community, and reclaiming New Orleans, one recipe at a time. If you missed part of this show or want to hear it again, visit the 51% archives at wamc.org.  This week’s show is #1212.


New York’s Catskills are just one of many areas that have been hit by natural disasters in the past year. And how one little rural town is working to rebuild after being wiped out by a flood is a microcosm of a story that’s playing out in Japan, in Louisiana, from communities damaged by volcanos, tornadoes, tsunamis and hurricanes. Nancy Barton lives part time in rural Prattsville New York, and teaches art at NYU in Manhattan. For her, the devastation left by Tropical Storm Irene uncovered bigger issues in her community which she’s been inspired to try to address.

9:33  Nancy Barton Prattsville  Barnett

Nancy Barton is an artist and a teacher, and director of the Prattsville Art Center.  The center’s facebook page is at Prattsville Art Workshops.

Many of the poorest residents of New Orleans lost everything in hurricane Katrina, but what some miss most may surprise you. This is a food-loving town where treasured recipes are handed down for generations. After Katrina, you could see floodwater-soaked recipe cards pinned on clotheslines to dry. While many recipes and cookbooks couldn’t be saved, Mary Stucky reports not all were not lost forever.

4:37  Katrina Cookbook

This story comes to us courtesy the World Vision Report.


That’s our show for this week.  Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance.  Our theme music is by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio.  Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock.

If you’d like to hear this show again, or visit the 51% archives, go to our website at WAMC.org.  Thanks so much for joining us… we’ll be back next week with another edition of  51% The Women's Perspective.

(:36 pads out to 25:00)


Theme:  Kevin Bartlett - Glow in the Dark 

 Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule The World