Local News

Many Displaced Families Now Calling North Carolina Home

Posted September 3, 2005 11:32 a.m. EDT

— Dozens of displaced families are calling North Carolina "home" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as they show up in droves at Red Cross locations in the Triangle and in Fayetteville.

Red Cross workers said at least 14 groups of families have arrived in the Triangle area in the past 48 hours. Most were coming here because they have family connections, Red Cross officials said. This weekend, they said, they were expecting a group of 22 evacuees to arrive.

All of them, such as Justin Mancuso, have lost everything and are looking to start a new life in the area.

Mancuso fled his hometown of Bay St. Louis, Miss., before Katrina destroyed it and everything he owned there.

"We were going to go back but we saw all the pictures and it's not even worth it," Mancuso said.

After a brief stay with family members in Orlando, Mancuso and his girlfriend decided to travel north to Raleigh, where they will now live with his aunt.

Although he's happy just to be alive, Mancuso said he finds himself thinking about what he lost.

"I think about everything I accumulated and how much I lost," he said. "It kind of upsets me you know."

The same scene has played out in Fayetteville where Michael Hurst showed up, Red Cross officials said.

Hurricane Katrina battered Hurst's car so much that he had to use his own belt to keep the car's hood from flying off.

"It took us 24 hours to get to North Carolina, and $125 in gas," Hurst said. "I'm just glad we made it and everyone's safe."

The Red Cross is helping all of the families settle in once they arrive to North Carolina.

"They're getting in the car and driving, and all they have with them is all they have with them," Patricia LeRoy of the Triangle Red Cross said.

Donations provided to Red Cross help buy food for evacuees as well as provide long-term assistance for things such as first month's rent, she said.