Rita Roughs Up Hancock County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/23/05

Rita Roughs Up Hancock County

A new wave of people are filling up Hancock North Central Elementary school. The school became shelter for Katrina evacuees. Now Rita's flood waters pose a new threat.

Shelter Manager Shaun Clark says, "They're coming from Pearlington, Jordan Shores. They're evacuating the low lying areas of Hancock County."

Just a couple of days ago plans were underway to clear out the school to get it ready for returning students. In fact, school was supposed to start next Friday. Now it looks like the first day of school will be mid-October.

Until then, Principal Katie Warren takes on another role; translating for those who can't speak English. Warren is trying to help a family from Santa Domingo. They were driving to Atlanta from New Orleans and their car broke down on I-10.

"They're just kinda displaced. They're confused, they're not wanting to be here. They're thankful they have a place but they're not wanting to be here because they want to go to Atlanta," Warren says.

Jeanette Smith knows how it feels to be displaced. She lost her Bay St. Louis home and has spent this entire month in shelters.

"We're so grateful to have a cot to sleep on and plenty of food to eat and water and all that but it's challenging psychologically and mentally. It's devastating in that everything you have's gone."

Frank Ecker and his daughter were rebuilding after Katrina destroyed their home. Now they're trying to outrun another storm.

"It's round two but it's really like the fourth time. A few years ago we got hit by two storms back to back and it's unbelievable it's happening a second time in a row."

The other two shelters in Hancock County are the Senior Center in Bay St. Louis and Second Street Elementary School also in the Bay. They will remain open indefinitely.

byMarcia Hill

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