Louisiana family thankful for the open arms of Bristow residents - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Louisiana family thankful for the open arms of Bristow residents

Bristow is an Oklahoma community that has welcomed hurricane evacuees with open arms. One family is working to overcome a double dose of heartache and loss.

News on 6 anchor Craig Day has their story and how they're getting kindness in our state.

The Johnston family of Slidell, Louisiana almost waited too long to escape hurricane Katrina. The interstates leading away from danger were packed.

Slidell resident Antonio Johnston: "Just at the last minute, I said I would just rather be safe than sorry. So we just jumped on the interstate and started driving." Slidell resident Dawn Johnston: "It's been a rough ride. But at least we're here safe together."

The family left with very little, but they have each other and they have new friends in Oklahoma. The Johnston's, along with several other relatives are getting help at JoAnn Bird's house in Bristow. Bird didn't know any of them before the hurricane, but she had the extra space. JoAnn Bird: "I'm glad that I can. Just to have something that I can offer."

The evacuees are staying in a four bedroom, one bath detached addition to Bird's home. The family came to Bristow because they have one relative who had lived here for eight years. That relative borrowed a church bus, went to south Louisiana, picked them up and then brought them here.

Antonio Johnston: "it's wonderful. I mean I wish everybody in the world was like the people in Bristow." Having a place to stay means all the world to those who've lost everything. A week before the hurricane hit, the Johnston's had a house fire. Two days after moving into a new home, Hurricane Katrina came. Dawn Johnston: "It was horrific to lose everything once, but to lose it twice was even worse and to know that we can't even go back."

For now, the family is thankful to have a roof over their heads, a place to take a warm shower and most of all, and a place to be together. The family hopes to return to their home this week to salvage what they can. Most of all, they hope to find baby pictures of the girls.
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