My Parents’ (Jane and Louie Smolensky) Interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams

Full story plus video can be found at

My thoughts:

  • When Brian Williams says, “found via Internet”, a NBC Nightly News producer contacted me on Friday via this blog and we went from there.  It was pretty difficult to get NBC in contact with my family due to poor communications down there, but we eventually did it.
  • It is really, really weird to hear your parents voice on national news.
  • The first picture they show is of Our Lady Academy, my high school.
  • It’s really scary when you can’t recognize where your parents are standing in the house you grew up in your entire life.
  • The second picture is of a neighbor’s house after the hurricane.
  • The third picture is of them evacuating up the stairs when the water broke through.
  • The picture of the refrigerator is from my aunt’s house.
  • Whenever I see Coleman Ave, I think that they have to be somewhere else that there’s no way this could a scene in Waveland.
  • The image of City Hall and the sign of “Thank you to all those that help us in Camille” just blows my mind.
  • I like how the American Flag was properly placed across a chair in the background when my mom was talking.  Talk about product placement =)
  • I’m only 2 degrees of separation from Jon Stewart!!

I can’t wait to hit the road and get home.

Comments (6)

  1. Bob Saul says:


    Great segment!

    Hope you are able to get a DVD copy.

    It did my heart good to see your mother and dad on TV.

    Best of luck on the trip down south. It will be a long drive; hope you have a bit of time to look at the great country in between Seattle and Waveland.

  2. Brian says:

    I caught the item on the news and immediately knew I was seeing your parents.

    Good luck on your trip down there.

  3. PB says:

    FYI – Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo was interviewed today on the Pam Stone Show. She was inspired to book him after watching that very report from Mississippi on NBC News. Here is a link to the interview audio:

  4. Monica says:

    I used to live in the Bay and on Sunday my family & myself brought supplies to Waveland and Bay St Louis on Sunday, October 9. Just wanted to add a correction. I read a statement that says most have fema trailors now. This is not so. And far far from it. I would say in Waveland maybe 10 to 15% have trailors…..but for the resident owners they told me weeks before fema can hook them up on their property due to water, sewage and getting them generators for lights.

    As for as Bay St Louis, maybe about 15 to 20% have trailors. Debris is having to be cleared also in both areas before a trailor can go on their property. I just dont want a false mesage to go out, because these people still need lots of help and supplies.


  5. Katie Boyd says:

    Hi. I ran across this website just looking for others who had not received help from FEMA. As with your parents, mine lost everything. My brothers and Dad went to Gulfport after a week and a half post hurricane to see if anything was salvagable. I took Mom home (it will always be home) after staying with me for 3 weeks in Charlotte. We went as a family to stand on the "slab" that is there where we all shared so many special family moments. Looking around, it is hard to distinguish where one’s yard ends and another begins. I close my eyes to try and picture what it once looked like. FEMA was contacted by my dad the day after the storm while they were evacuated. He knew he needed to get on the list because of the severity of the storm and the location of their home. FEMA sent them a letter stating that they did not qualify for housing assistance. The inspector’s form had comments like: "Property not accesible", "total loss" and in the same paper also listed "not a hazard to live in". This was very poor in my opinion. We all understand that this catastrophe is far greater than any of it’s kind of the past…but all they need is a roof over their heads. He didn’t ask for special treatment. Dad mentioned that they are back on a list. No priority, no "we’re sorry" for making such a gross mistake, only back on a list. We don’t know how long it will take for FEMA to come through for them. Right now, they are relying on the incredible generosity of their friends-bouncing from home to home. Even though their house, our house, is no longer there-HOME is wherever my parents are. I didn’t want to complain because I know that everything possible is being done to help all that are impacted by Katrina but I needed an outlet and I knew you’d understand and read what I had to say. For that, I thank you…

    Katie Boyd

    Charlotte, NC

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