This is about so much more than a single storm. It's about humanity.
When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, people around the country joined forces to help the relief efforts, with the city of Houston taking on a big role.
The Texas city, just a few hundred miles down Interstate 10, stepped up and provided support for New Orleans evacuees. Houston's Astrodome was repurposed into a shelter, area school districts adapted to meet new demand, and both local celebrities and everyday citizens donated time, money, and housing for those in need.
It was a perfect example of one city coming to another's aid in a challenging time.
Hurricane Katrina evacuees set up in Houston's Astrodome stadium in September 2005. Photo by Menahem Khana/AFP/Getty Images.
12 years later, as Houston reels from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, New Orleans wants the city to know that it hasn't forgotten the powerful display of love and generosity.
The City of New Orleans took out a full page ad in the Sept. 10 edition of the Houston Chronicle, a screenshot of which was posted to Twitter by Chronicle editor Matt Schwartz.
Addressed "To our friends in Texas," the letter provides a powerful, heartfelt message of support and encouragement as Houston prepares for its own post-hurricane recovery efforts after Harvey tore through the city.
Both the wife and I got a little moist-eye reading this full-page ad in this morning's @HoustonChron. Cheers to you… https://t.co/iCIayMJ5v9— Matt Schwartz (@Matt Schwartz) 1505066855
The letter reads:
"To our friends in Texas,
Twelve years ago, you took in hundreds of thousands of us. You opened your homes, closets, and kitchens. You found schools for our kids and jobs to tide us over. Some of us are still there. And when the rest of the world told us not to rebuild, you told us not to listen. Keep our city and traditions alive.
Now, no two storms are the same. Comparing rising waters is a waste of energy when you need it most. But know this — in our darkest hour, we found peace and a scorching, bright light of hope with our friends in Texas. And we hope you'll find the same in us.
Our doors are open. Our clothes come in every size. There's hot food on the stove, and our cabinets are well-stocked. We promise to always share what we have.
Soon, home will feel like home again, even if it seems like a lifetime away. We'll be battling for football recruits under the Friday night lights. You'll tell us to stop trying to barbeque. We'll tell you to lay off your crawfish boil and come have the real thing. But for as long as you need, we're here to help.
The way of life you love the most will carry on. You taught us that. Your courage and care continues to inspire our whole city. We couldn't be more proud to call you our neighbors, our friends, and our family. Texas forever.
We're with you,
The letter serves as a reminder of one of life's most universal truths: We all need help from time to time.
Katrina, Harvey, and Irma can bury our cities under water and wash away our property, but they cannot take away our humanity. These tragedies are mitigated by our ability to dig deep down within ourselves and let the empathy within us shine through. Just as New Orleans needed Houston, Houston now needs New Orleans — one day, you can be a thriving city and the next, you can be wrecked through no fault of your own.
Empathy and generosity are key to survival and success. If you're in a position where you can help someone out, hopefully you'll do that. If you're in a position where you're the one in need of help, hopefully you'll find the courage to ask for it.
Together, we will weather life's storms as best as humanly possible.
A woman is rescued from her flooded home after Hurricane Katrina. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.