Town that harbored Katrina evacuees now hosting Morganza evacuees

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 20, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News

SIMMESPORT, LA – Several people who have been forced to evacuate their homes in advance of the floodwaters from the opening of the Morganza Spillway have taken refuge in a small town in Avoyelles Parish.

It’s an area that gave refuge to many Katrina evacuees.

The 49 modular homes that make up the town of Magnaville once sheltered Katrina evacuees for free.

Tonya Nelson was one of them and she finally moved to Magnaville in August 2006. She’s now a property manager for the area.

“It was really nice, nice surroundings, I felt safe,” she said.

The area was once called Canadaville because it was built by a Canadian billionaire philanthropist to help people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

It was a five-year program that just recently ended, just in time to take in another wave of evacuees – this time because of flooding in the Atchafalaya Basin.

About 30 families are here because of the flooding.

Lisa Adams lives in Simmesport. She was forced to leave her home two weeks ago because of rising water.

Part of the problem in Simmesport is flooding but it is also access as some of the roads get covered in water.

That includes the road that leads to Lisa Adams’ home.

She says that if it hadn’t been for the available homes in Magnaville, she’s not sure where she’d have gone.

“It’s a blessing though because all these people here didn’t have anywhere to go,” she said.

Adams’ plight is all-too-familiar to Nelson, who is now helping those in need.

“That’s the first thing I tell them, is that I really understand what you’re going through,” said Nelson. “I understand they’re scared and some of them have lost a little because of the water. I understand the displacement, but it’s going to be alright. I tell them it’s going to be alright and that this time will pass.”

And some people are able to find a small amount of comfort in having a home away from home.

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