Fr. Richard Wagner in Rayne, two hours west of New Orleans, is trying to do just that. The Josephite Father says the evacuees who have come to his parish are not concerned with the possessions that they lost in the floodwaters, reported NPR. Their concern is for the well being of families and friends, whom they have not yet been able to find since the storm.
Rural Louisianans have opened their homes, churches, centers and stadiums to host these needy strangers from the city, offering them food, money and clothing, Fr. Wagner reported. Louisianans are learning about each other, the priest said, pointing to the positive side of things.
In addition, rural Louisiana many change somewhat as many evacuees are considering remaining where circumstances have now planted them, wondering why they would ever return to New Orleans, said Fr. Wagner.
Rose McNeely, who is now being sheltered at the Astrodome in Houston with another 16,000 refugees, has made that very decision. She told Reuters that she has interpreted the floods and her subsequent move from New Orleans as a sign from God that she should not return to her native city.
Others have embraced the personal graces that have flowed since the disaster. Joseph Brant told Reuters the ordeal was a test that ended up dispelling his lifelong distrust of white people and setting his life on a new course.
.- Amid the ruin and devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, faith still abounds and faith communities work to offer comfort and hope.