Ready to be Home

More than 600 people sought refuge at shelters in Huntsville this holiday weekend. Many of them are now looking forward to when they can head home and assess any damage from Hurricane Gustav. In the meantime, they're expressing gratitude that the storm wasn't too bad. Laurie Johnson has the story.
Huntsville High School is more of a big dormitory than a school this week. Cots are spread out through the gym and people in pajamas head to the showers or outside for a smoke.

One man from Lake Charles, LA sat with his extended family and waited for word from home. The man Brady, who asked that only his first name be used, says they don't think they'll be able to go back for a couple of days.

"The fact that the storm did not intensify as much as it could have is a blessing. I feel bad for the people in New Orleans because they've got to go through this thing all over again. Being from Lake Charles and where the storm is heading I don't think we're going to be on the bad side of the storm so that might save us some too."

On the other side of the school in a quiet office Tim Hooks is calling for more supplies to be delivered to the shelter. They're running low on a few medications and need to replenish the dispensary. Hooks runs the Red Cross shelter and says this is the smoothest evacuation he's experienced. But he's concerned that might have a negative effect on some.

"There could be a category five bearing right down on Beaumont and there's going to be some people that will go 'well look, if you remember Gustav they told us all these things then too and look we got a quarter of an inch of rain or whatever it was that we got. And you made me leave my house, go three days without pay, spend all this money driving or getting a hotel room or the car broke down or whatever happened.' And they're going to remember that and think it's going to be the same thing again. And unfortunately, people are going to lose lives because of it."

Hooks says that complacency may be reinforced because the last three storms to threaten Texas, namely Dolly, Edouard and Gustav, weren't the major hurricanes that had been predicted.

Back in the cafeteria, Brady sits with his family where they're talking about what they might find when they return home.

"I think home will be okay. I'm not really concerned about... I have faith, I have strong faith and my family has strong faith and we're just going to trust the Lord and believe."

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...