Hurricane Katrina Survivors Stay In Tyler -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News


Hurricane Katrina Survivors Stay In Tyler

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall.   A lot the people living in those areas sought refuge here in East Texas. Some returned or relocated elsewhere.   But some put down roots here.   We spoke with one of those couples about their new life in East Texas and how it was all so hard to imagine, when they were living in the Superdome, just one year ago.  

"6 days, and it was absolutely awful.  Food and water was at a very minimum and there were no rest room facilities no electricity, it is just hard to even imagine," says Mel Smith, Survivor of Hurricane Katrina.

Once Mel and Lynda Smith got out of the Superdome, they spent the next 24 hours on a bus. They ended up at Marvin United Methodist Church in Tyler.  

"I just cried and said honey we will be okay, the minute I saw the Red Cross sign and Marvin Church, it's okay now.  God is there," says Lynda Smith, survivor of Hurricane Katrina.

During their stay at Marvin UMC,  they met member, Su Plunkett.

"On Sunday morning, before I left to go to church. I just prayed and and said if you there is somebody that you want me to help show me," says Plunkett.

That morning she met Mel and Lynda Smith.  

"She said I want to do something because they have enough volunteers, can I do your laundry?  well, I'm like, I don't have any laundry. She said how about I take you to lunch?," says Lynda.

And since that day, Su, Mel and Lynda have been friends.

"We fell in love with the town, beautiful town, very quaint and totally different lifestyle than New Orleans, people care a lot of about you here," says Lynda.

Mel and Lynda have made Tyler their home.  The couple has even started their own commercial and residential cleaning company.  

"It has worked out well for us and keep getting busier and busier," says Mel.

Mel and Lynda say after all they have been through, it was worth it because they are in much better place.

Mel and Lynda joined Marvin United Methodist Church in January.  They have been back to New Orleans once and say their was nothing left of their former home.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.

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