Party in Caruthersville

Friday, August 11, 2006

There was a fine party last Friday in Caruthersville, Mo. About 3,000 people -- the population of the Mississippi River town is 6,700 -- showed up.

They also had good reason to celebrate. Caruthersville is still working past the devastation of the April 2 tornado that destroyed about 60 percent of the town. Fifty families are still living in FEMA-provided housing. Storm debris is still waiting to be cleaned up in some areas of town.

With all the trials and tribulations Caruthersville has been through in the past four months, there was good reason to wonder if the 23rd annual "Meat on the Mississippi" barbecue competition and festival would be held this year.

Not to worry. Folks in Caruthersville were ready for the party, and they managed to entertain a good many visitors from surrounding states. Several of the out-of-towners commented about the spunk of the residents who have been trying to restore order to their lives.

"We deserve it," firefighter Jerry Hudgens said during the festivities.

He was right. And everyone had a grand time.

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