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|Franklin harbors fleeing evacuees|
Well before the winds and rains of Hurricane Gustav came Monday night, evacuees from south Louisiana were marking time at shelters in Winnsboro.
At Temple Baptist Church Toni Dickerson arrived Sunday with 10 children and eight adults from DeQuincy. She'd made this evacuation trip before and knew where to go.
"We stayed here during Katrina and they were so nice. This was where we wanted to come back to," said Dickerson.
"Today is my daughter's fourteenth birthday, so we're trying to make the best of it. But I'm scared. I just got down to the last three payments on my house and I don't know what I'll find when I get back," she said.
Temple pastor Bro. Jason Foster said volunteers were keeping the kitchen going in the church family center and that different churches were sharing the responsibility of feeding the sheltered families, which totaled about 40 people.
"Many churches in the area are taking turns preparing meals," Foster said Monday. "We don't know how many families to expect, so we are just taking them in as they come."
South of Winnsboro, at River of Life Church, Pastor Dave Philips walked throughout the facility, checking on the approximately 400 folks staying at the church.
River of Life was also a shelter during Katrina and Rita.
Just about all of the church's rooms were occupied, and Monday night when more people arrived, some were bedded down in the sanctuary.
"Things have been going smoothly," Philips said. "It's been filled with the peace of God."
Philips said the shelter at River of Life is a combined effort among churches in the parish, stressing other congregations are providing, food, bedding and comfort to the evacuees there.
"We look at this as a Franklin Parish-wide church shelter," he said. "This is really a community effort."
Myrtis J. Sartin, of New Orleans who said she'd be 87 in three months, was passing the time at River of Life by knitting pot holders from hot pink and green yarn. This was her second trip to Franklin, she was also a Katrina evacuee.
"Oh, everyone has been so nice. It has been beautiful," Sartin said. "I am so grateful we were able to come here."
Bill Mulkey, Franklin Parish Director of Homeland Security, said his office delivered some cots and blankets to River of Life on Friday in preparation for the evacuees, but didn't have enough to meet the need.
"The main thing we're trying to do is get something for them to sleep on," Mulkey said.