From the Editor:   Your editor first came to St. Barths in 1968, and has been a permanent resident for more than twenty years. He lives with his Franco-American family on a hillside overlooking Lorient from which he gazes fascinated by the unfolding panorama of a halcyon and unique way of life.
  December 1999
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  Most residents take a certain satisfaction in the fact that while most of the world suffers overcast skies, rain, and cold during large portions of the year, the islands of the eastern Caribbean get their annual portion of bad weather all at once, in brief concentrated chunks, usually in the fall.
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  But, two hurricanes in one year has put a serious dent in that satisfaction, at least temporarily.
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  When we meet fellow residents in the street or in the market, the first words out of their mouths is, "I'm exhausted.", and they look it.
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  In 1995, when hurricane Luis clobbered the place after a thirty years hiatus, the community responded with a zeal and determination that was awe inspiring, and within weeks had restored the island's ability to offer first-rate hospitality to visitors, while nearby neighbors continued to wallow in confusion and self pity.
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  This established a standard that has been severely put to the test this November, with the arrival of hurricane Lenny.
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  And, once again, this time with more grim discipline than zeal, the People of St. Barths have rebounded brilliantly from a stunning blow.
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  As before, their spirit has been contagious, infecting the teams of soldiers, telephone specialists, and electrical linesmen that have been brought in to lend a hand.
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  And, as before, this winter's visitors will scarcely be aware of the herculean effort that was made to prepare a congenial place in the sun to accommodate their respite from a less fortunate climate.

  More to come,

  Peter O'Keefe


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