Evacuees Weather The Storm En Masse

image4405488x.jpg
in a church shelter, families weather hurricane gustav away from new orleans
CBS

For the poor, the desperate, World Miracle Place Church was just that.

"For Hurricane Katrina, we slept on a bridge for two days," said New Orleans evacuee Jeanne Williams.

Eighteen members of the Bennett family, the youngest eight months old, the oldest 46 years, all from New Orleans' West Bank, were forced to stop when their truck broke down, CBS News national correspondent Byron Pitts reports.

This one family is just part of the estimated 1.9 million residents of Southern Louisiana who evacuated. That's nearly 90 percent of the region's population. It's the largest mass movement of people in the state's history. In Mississippi, more than 100,000 people evacuated.

By bus, by train, by car - the exodus started voluntarily last week, and became mandatory by Sunday. Families dropped off as far away as Tennessee and Texas. Part of the lesson learned the hard way after Hurricane Katrina.

It's a lesson not lost on 75-year-old Al Ordes. Katrina destroyed his home in St. Bernard Parrish. So he and his wife moved 90 minutes north to Baton Rouge. Now they have company.

"My house is full with my children; we have blow-up mattresses," Ordes said.

All told, 12 relatives, a dog, a cat and a family rabbit, are squeezed in his four-bedroom home. The Ordes live in a new subdivision made up primarily of his old Neighbors from St. Bernard. They moved here in search of high land with few trees.

"What do ya'll call this neighborhood?" Pitts asked.

"Some of us calle it 'Little St. Bernard," Ordes said.

How many families from St. Bernard live there now?

"About 200 families," he said.

His 10-year granddaughter is grateful for grandma's gumbo, and the security of family.

"I think it's going to be pretty scary, because this one is worse than Katrina," she said.

As for World Miracle Place Church, it's one of 123 shelters open statewide. Pastor Ricky Sinclair says he's simply filling the gap left by government...

"People started showing up all through the day and all through the night," Sinclair said.

And there they'll be for at least another night.