Sunday, September 25

Evacuees in DeRidder pray

DERIDDER — During his 85 years, Truman Lillie has learned that there's only one way you can get through hard times.

"God," he said. "He gets you through days like this."

On Sunday, Lillie sat in the foyer of the DeRidder First United Methodist Church waiting for the 10 a.m. service to begin.

Despite the sweltering heat and the storm damage, church members gathered to thank God for what they have left.

Joyce Simon, manager of the Calcasieu Council on Aging, planned on praying with the church congregation on Sunday.

She's with the 15 CCOA seniors and their families. Her main task for the past two days has been consoling weary seniors who have been asking when they'll be able to return home.

"They want to know how their homes are," she said.

George Ackleson, 85, of Westlake is one of those seniors. He's been living in southwest Louisiana since 1961, but has never evacuated for a hurricane until now.

"It was fear and education," he said. "I made up my mind in about 45 minutes that it was time to go."

Ackleson said he started getting scared when he looked around Westlake and saw that most residents had left.

"I said 90 percent of those people must know something and I'm going to join those 90 percent and get out," he said.

Ackleson and his friends Herman Lantz of Sulphur and Charles Rushing of Toomey said they'll stay at the church for as long as they have to, but they miss the comforts of home.

"They feed you good here and treat you right," Lantz said. "But it ain't home."

Elona Weston
DeRidder bureau

No comments: