Huntsville Churches Provide Shelter for Evacuees

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

The number of evacuees in Huntsville is dwindling slowly as family members are being found and picking up their relatives. But while many are relieved to be away from the Superdome, they're still in search for their loved ones.

"Everybody in New Orleans lost everything they ever worked hard for and it's a shame, they lost women, children, elderly people," says evacuee, Evelyn May.

"I tell you that Superdome was not nice, little children getting hurt, children getting raped and killed," says Darrium Simmons who survived Hurricane Katrina.

Almost 400 evacuees in Huntsville and all of them with their own story to tell.

"I haven't seen my husband since the day it happened. He took a ride with his sister and I haven't seen them since. They were supposed to be coming to Texas. I've been married to my husband for 22 years and I haven't seen my husband yet," says evacuee Gwendolyn White.

"I've been seperated from my whole family. I have a little boy, Catrell Jordan. I don't know where he's at. I don't know where my mother is at, my niece and nephew," says one young man who survived the New Orleans' devastation.

Each other is all they have during this desperate time. First Baptist Church took in busloads of evacuees early Friday. Pastor David Valentine says these people have been through so much already.

"Their lives were completely changed when first got here. They're comfortable, secure, clean, happy. Now the question is how do I rebuild my life," says Pastor Valentine.

But rebuilding is the last thing on their minds right now. For many, finding their loved ones is all they can think about.

"It's devastating, you don't know and not knowing is worse than finding out," says another evacuee, Virginia Smart.

"I just want to be with my family. I want to find my family cause I miss them and love them all," says Gwendolyn.


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