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Katrina Survivor Helps Monroe Homeless

Monroe man survived Hurricane Katrina, only to face a life on the streets. But with the help of a local non-profit, he's back on his feet again and spreading his message of revival.
One of The Wellspring's many locations in North East Louisiana.  (Felicia Bolton)
One of The Wellspring's many locations in North East Louisiana. (Felicia Bolton)
Emmanuel Lowe survived Hurricane Katrina and is now spreading his message of revival.  (Felicia Bolton)
Emmanuel Lowe survived Hurricane Katrina and is now spreading his message of revival. (Felicia Bolton)

MONROE, Louisiana -   A Monroe man survived Hurricane Katrina, only to face a life on the streets.  But with the help of a local non-profit, he's back on his feet again and spreading his message of revival.

"I was studying to be a minister. I was there 6 months before Katrina came through. When Katrina came through, I was subjected to all this weather, nothing I’ve experienced before," said Hurricane Katrina Survivor Emmanuel Lowe.

It's the graphic images of Hurricane Katrina that haunt Emmanuel Lowe. He said he batted water up to his chest, to make his way to safety.

 “Walking around in the water…contaminated water, people bumping up against you that are [sic] flowing with the current that have passed away,” said Lowe.

Lowe said he recalls dead bodies flowing up against him and others when the hurricane hit.

They were going with the current. So they were moving. When something bumped up against me and I looked down; It was a lady. She turned over and I looked at her dead in the face," he said.

The violent waves washed away his section of New Orleans and everything he had. Once the storm subsided, he was left with a lingering trauma and a life on the streets.

"When I came back, I still had this image in my head about what I went through. It was kind of hard for me to kind of get it right and get it better again. Because of what I went through," he said.

After seeking refuge in 2 other states, the Red Cross sent him here to Monroe.  He says he lived in broken down, abandoned buildings in the Twin Cities.  

Not only did he brave the harsh weather, he fought to survive in the midst of other homeless. Until one day, he received a helping hand from The Wellspring and his life on the streets came to an end.

“ I am so very thankful that we can be here to help; that we have some resources. We don't have a shelter, The Wellspring. We have a domestic violence shelter but not for general homelessness. There are not enough resources to go around. But we do the best we can,” said The Wellspring Director of Housing and Supportive Services Program, Lawana Brown.

Brown  works everyday helping those in need.

"We get calls daily. We get people walking in daily. They are staying in the shelter or they don't have a place to stay.So they're just looking for a warm place," she said.

Last year the programs at The Wellspring served more than 600 people. But with limited resources, they were forced to turn many away.

"If there is not an availability, we turn over every rock to find something to help get them off the street," Brown said.

She says she wants to see more success stories like Lowe. With their help, he went from a life of poverty to moving into a home of his own and being a blessing to others.

He now serves as a newly appointed board member on The Wellsprings, as a voice for the homeless community.

"That's our job. That's what God put us here for, to help each other. That's what we are supposed to do," said Lowe.

The non-profit group stated they want to branch their outreach to help more people. But they need community support to make this happen.

If you would like to volunteer your time or make a donation to The Wellspring, contact them at (318)651-9314 or click here www.wellspringalliance.org .  

This Hurricane Katrina video is courtesy of http://www.ultimatechase.com/

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