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Sick and tired in East Texas

NBC's Carl Quintanilla reports from Port Arthur, Texas, where residents say New Orleans' plight robbed them of help and sympathy.

The first thing you notice here is the color. There are blue tarps on roofs everywhere.

It's “FEMA blue” and it's everywhere — covering rooftops, broken by Hurricane Rita.

It's been more than a month since Hurricane Rita, and they're still putting up 500 tarps a day. For those who don't have insurance, it's not just a quick fix. It's their new roof.

The wallboard in Cecil Busby's home is destroyed. So he lives in a tent, with his daughter, just like Chris Taylor and the other contractors who are putting on the tarps.

“It's home, sweet home for now,” says Taylor.

“It's kind of miserable living like this. It gets cold at night,” says Busby. “Everyone is getting sick.”

They are sick — and tired too — of playing second fiddle to New Orleans. Just like New Orleans, Port Arthur's schools are still closed, but East Texans here say they've been cheated of both help and sympathy.

“People are, frankly, sick of hearing about Katrina around here,” says Wayner Moore, the administrator of Christus Hospital-St. Mary. That, says Moore, is because there was suffering here too.

The healing process here is slow, but moving. J.R. Dupree got his $2,000 from FEMA, and he insists, “We'll be back to normal before long.”

But to this day, at his home, Walter Miller is without power or hope.

“If I could,” Miller says, “I'd just pack up and leave right now.”