Katrina couple to tie the knot at shelter

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A Natchez bride and groom will testify to what others have said: Good things can come from tragic events.

Sheborne Hunt, who evacuated to Natchez when Hurricane Katrina sent her family fleeing from their home near the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, and Ian Mouton, who lost his home in the lake section of New Orleans, met in Natchez, fell in love and, after counseling by Bishop Stanley Searcy, pastor of New Hope, will be married at 5:30 p.m. today at the church.

&8220;We clicked from the beginning,&8221; Hunt said Friday. &8220;We were meant to meet.&8221;

Email newsletter signup

Hunt, with her three sons, found refuge at New Hope. &8220;She was with us two or three months,&8221; said Pauline Rogers, who managed the hundreds of evacuees who lived at the Morgantown Road church for months after the Aug. 29 hurricane.

Hunt now has her own residence and is looking for a job. Her husband-to-be is a business management student at Southern University&8217;s New Orleans campus and expects to graduate in August.

The wedding is a happy occasion for New Hope, Rogers said. And it signals the end of one outreach and perhaps the beginning of another by the church.

&8220;We have the sanctuary back,&8221; Rogers said. For months, evacuees slept on the pews. &8220;But our nursery and bookstore are still set up as sleeping areas.&8221;

The focus now is on the upcoming season, Rogers said. &8220;We&8217;re taking the Red Cross training to be ready for the next hurricane season. We want to be ready and to do the job efficiently.&8221;

New Hope was one of the Red Cross centers for evacuees. Rogers said the extraordinary outreach effort by church members would not have been possible without community support and some important outside help.

One of the outside grants came from the Foundation for the MidSouth. &8220;That provided funds for direct services to evacuees,&8221; Rogers said. Those services included childcare, transportation, shelter, support and distribution items such as food and toiletries.

&8220;The Foundation for the MidSouth was our biggest financial support,&8221; she said.

Other donations were from the Evangelical Free Church of California, World Relief, Mississippi Faith Based Coalition, and individuals such as Terry Moore and Harry Thorn who drove a bus filled with items from California.

Even with preparations under way for the upcoming season, some Katrina evacuees continue to have needs and problems, Rogers said.

&8220;Every day, we see a need from some who stayed here with us and some who have been put out of the hotels and motels,&8221; she said. &8220;The biggest challenge is helping these people to get into stable living situations.&8221;

The wedding today is a bright spot and a good ending to one Katrina story. &8220;They will be fine,&8221; Rogers said of the couple.