Wednesday morning, the first family arrived at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center where the Red Cross had established its emergency shelter.
Hoping to escape the winds and flooding of Hurricane Isaac, the Walker family left their homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward this past Monday. Twenty-one-year-old Nick Walker drove his mother, Jane Walker, his girlfriend, Julie Parker, his 15 year-old brother, Romalas, and his 5 year-old nephew, Terreance Gooden to LaGrange in his ‘92 Honda Accord.
Before finding out about the Red Cross shelter, the family had spent two nights in the Best Western Hotel. As soon as the family was told of the shelter, they went directly to the rec center.
Jane Walker said that the family had to leave her daughter, Tashika Walker, Terreance’s mother, and her own boyfriend, Barron Markham, behind in New Orleans and that she was very worried about them. “My boyfriend’s roof caved in and I haven’t been able to reach my daughter today,” Ms. Walker explained.
Ms. Walker’s daughter and boyfriend couldn’t leave the area because of their jobs but Ms. Walker said that others made the decision to stay “just so they would have a story to tell, she said. ” I don’t want a story to tell, I want us to stay somewhere where it is safe and dry.”
Ms. Walker explained how people were talking about different forecasts and some people just didn’t believe that Isaac would be all that bad. The Walkers, being from one of the hardest hit areas where Katrina came through seven years ago, did not want to take that chance.
The family isn’t sure when they will be able to return to their homes but for now, thanks to the Red Cross and their partner organizations, the Walkers are safe and dry here in LaGrange.