Hundreds Find Refuge in El Paso

9-6-05 - As the floodwaters rose around her 9th Ward home in New Orleans, Doris Causey tried her best to reassure her family.

"I told them that God made me a promise, there was a rainbow in the sky and we would be all right," Causey recalled Monday from a shelter at the El Paso convention center. "But as the water rose my 18-year-old told me, 'I don't want to hear about any promise, get in the attic.'"

Causey, 59, and her daughter, Karen Cheneau, 40, were among more than 400 evacuees brought from hurricane-ravaged Louisiana to this West Texas city on Sunday. Though their final destination was a surprise, officials said most knew only that they were heading to Texas, the tired crowd was said to be in good spirits Monday and thankful to be alive.

Lt. Mario Hernandez, an El Paso fire marshal's investigator, said several evacuees were taken to area hospitals but most were in relatively good health. They clutched garbage bags or small suitcases with all they had left, Hernandez said.

"It was overwhelming," Hernandez said, fighting back tears. "They were holding on to bags like they were protecting the Hope Diamond."