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Hurricane Irene is working-class disaster for NC
Labor Day visitors get summer holiday on NC coast, workers, inland residents clean up mess
By The Associated Press

NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) ' A tourist heading to Nags Head this Labor Day weekend might not realize a hurricane flooded the North Carolina coast about a week ago.

Blue skies are back and restaurants are open, selling seafood and ice cream.

But a real disaster has befallen the local workers who serve tourists and keep the towns running. A hardware store clerk mucks out water at her parents' home in between waiting on customers. A car mechanic says he cried to several bank tellers while describing the flood that destroyed his neighborhood. While tourists on the barrier islands can eat fresh fish and crabcakes, emergency workers are still distributing relief meals in the countryside.

The hurricane did hit some upscale tourist neighborhoods, but some of the hardest burdens have fallen on the less affluent.

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