Here's a great story to read. I'm seeing stories like this happen here in my own town, north of Dallas. I'll share the story of one family of five. The Lacey's are good solid working folks who love their kids (great kids) and were doing a decent job a making go of it in N.O. She worked in the accounts department at Charity hospital, he worked as a warehouse forklift driver and a sauce cook for a catering group. They lost everything but their minivan and their lives in the storm & flood. How they managed to escape the unfortunate events at both the Superdome and the Convention Center (they ended up at both places at one time or another) is an amazing story of guiding providence. After getting out of New Orleans on a back road, they spent almost a week in a Baton Rouge shelter, unable to find an apartment or a job. The reasons were simple, really. The nightly news were looping endless images of rampant looting and chaos in New Orleans. So when these folks tried to get jobs or a place to stay, they failed mainly because of two things: 1) they were black and 2) they were from New Orleans. Suddenly jobs were "filled" and apartments were "rented". At the end of their rope, they came here to North Texas on a suggestion of a shelter volunteer. They came to the shelter here at our church and were just amazed at the totally different attitude compared to Baton Rouge. Kim and I were really taken with these folks, so we invited them to stay in our home for a few days rather than hang out in the shelter. Two families of 10 people living under one roof was fun! The houses here tend to be a bit too big anyhow, so this filled things up nicely. :o) We came to know and love these folks. Soon they got down to the hard, but rewarding business of calling McKinney their new home and rebuilding their lives. When they moved into their apartment on Wednesday you should have seen the smiles. They even had furniture already, thanks to the generosity of folks. A job was right after that. The kids are already enrolled in school and have settled in. It's amazing to see people respond to hardship with such inspiring levels of gratitude and determination. These folks will face some tough times for sure, but I think they're gonna be just fine. In the process my family has made some lifelong friends. This is but one story out of hundreds, thousands.
Good will come of this whole hurricane mess. For many families, long stuck on a generational hamster wheel of poverty and public assistance, this Katrina event will be the catalyst to breaking that cycle and forever changing their family tree. Their kids will attend good schools, they'll live in quiet neighborhoods. They have hope for a better life for their kids than they ever dreamed possible back in the poorest parts of New Orleans. These are their words, not mine. It'll take a lot of hard work and it will test their will, but many are determined to take every advantage of this opportunity.