Louisiana evacuees fill up a Broken Arrow home

Tuesday, August 30th 2005, 10:20 am
By: News On 6

We've seen the long lines of cars on highways leaving Louisiana. Some of the evacuees wound up in Broken Arrow.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says one Broken Arrow couple, Ray and Pam Wood, now have a full house.

Like a lot of people, one family in Broken Arrow is watching the news about Hurricane Katrina. The difference is that's their hometown is under water.

"We've been watching TV non-stop trying to see if we can even get a glimpse of our neighborhood or something like that from the choppers or whatever.” Jason Shepard says there have been a lot of false alarms in the past, but this time he says he knew he had to leave. “They have a lot of cry-wolf storms they call them, but they've gotten a lot better at forecasting hurricanes and it was just straight set on New Orleans.”

So Jason and more than a dozen family members packed up what they could and fled Sunday morning. Although the first several hours were spent in grueling gridlock. “A lot of just stopping and starting, nowhere to use the restroom, people just crawling on the side of the road, doing what they had to do."

After 20 hours on the road, they finally made it to Broken Arrow Monday and to their relatives', Ray and Pam Wood's house, which they good-naturedly call their refugee camp. Pam Wood: "We thought about putting out a sign for you that said Katrina Evacuation Center." But they know the situation is serious. It might be weeks or even months before they can go back.

They don't know if they still have homes or even if they still have jobs. Jason Shepard: "If people could pray for them, it'd probably be a good idea, because they're going to need it."

They've learned civilization is fragile, but family is strong. Pam Wood: “Now that they're here, it's such a relief."