Jackie Larson

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Evacuee: This town is big on ‘football … caring and giving’

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Moments to smile
Health officer W.B. Kinzie in Ennis, Texas, shares a smile with Louisiana evacuee Gail Provost at the Red Cross-certified shelter at Tabernacle Baptist Church. Photo by Jackie Larson
ENNIS, Texas (BP)--Officially, it’s Ennis Emergency Shelter #1, but at Tabernacle Baptist Church, an American Red Cross-certified shelter for evacuees from Hurricane Katrina’s devastating New Orleans flooding, they call it “Operation Love.”
      The church’s family life center became the rallying point for community volunteer efforts –- and the official short-term home for 40-plus evacuees, 33 of them from one extended circle of friends and family in the Lower Ninth Ward of Orleans Parish who camped out in the Tabernacle gym, with mattresses neatly organized by family group covering the gym floor.
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Time to talk
Louisiana evacuees at Tabernacle Baptist Church’s shelter engage in dialogue with FEMA officials. Photo by Jackie Larson

      Each evacuee had a dramatic story of how Hurricane Katrina had changed life forever after flood walls broke and the floodwater began to rise.
      Retiree Lillian Pierre left her home on a Sunday morning with the hopes that she would return to New Orleans in a day or two. “We went into the attic, and we were there 10 minutes when some firemen came in a boat and got us. It was like someone had brought a long limousine for us,” Pierre said.