Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Honoring Kathleen Koch

Also highlighted at:
Our Lady Academy - Updated 10/29 (both)

OLA event honors Koch
More than 300 turn out for CNN reporter
BAY ST. LOUIS - When Kathleen Koch was here covering Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, she was always too busy chasing down the next headline to relax.
But on Saturday night, Koch, a native of Bay St. Louis, had a glass of white wine in her hand instead of a microphone. She could finally relax. Well, at least for a little bit.
Held at Hollywood Casino, Our Lady Academy, Mississippi's only all-girls school, honored their former student - and now White House correspondent for CNN. More than 300 guests showed for cocktails, dinner and music from New Orleans' own The Molly Ringwalds. The event, called Hooray for the Bay!, helped raise awareness for OLA, which suffered heavy damage from Katrina.
The school, according to OLA Director of Development Anna Kalom, was "virtually destroyed." Seven feet of water flooded several buildings, one of which had to be torn down. "A school bus washed into the front of another building," she said. "(The school) was unusable."
After Katrina hit, the guest of honor returned to the Coast to do two documentaries on the damage of her hometown. "I know my reports made a big difference," Koch said, a wide smile on her face. She said that the Coast was suffering the worst from Katrina and that "too much attention was on New Orleans."
She wanted to scream to everyone: "Hello! This is the real story right here."
Koch said she wanted to attend Saturday's event because OLA and the Coast still needed help. She wanted to help the school she spent her eighth and ninth grade years at in the 1970s, and the school in which her mother taught. And perhaps more importantly, she wanted to help the city she still calls home.
"Because she is from here, she helped keep the national focus on us," Kalom said, adding she helped the city more than any other journalist. "She did wonderful documentaries on Bay St. Louis. That kind of national coverage is so important."
Before Saturday night's event, Koch spent the morning and afternoon building a playground for a school at The Kiln. (10/22 Charles B Murphy Needs and Update)She will now spend some more time with friends and family before heading back to Washington and covering the November elections.


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