Evacuee Camp Empty in Dunklin County; Moved Into New Home

Evacuee Camp Empty in Dunklin County; Moved Into New Home
By: Ryan Tate

DUNKLIN COUNTY, MO --The more than two hundred people who called Camp McClanahan home in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, are now gone.

According to Dunklin County Emergency Management Director Shane Stoelting, the last of the evacuees left September 17th. Seventeen evacuee families now live in Dunklin County. They live in apartments made available by a company that manages federal housing and county itself.

"When we can help them start rebuilding their lives as soon as possible, it helps them out and they can start on the road to recovery," Stoelting said. According to Stoelting, the evacuee's apartments are rent and utility-free for six months. Afterwards, county leaders hope the evacuees can get state or federal help in paying for rent and utilities.

"We left a tragedy and came to something wonderful," Larry Gibson said. Gibson is from New Orleans, and fled to the Heartland in the aftermath of Katrina.

"We came to some place where there are people who love us. I wouldn't mind staying," Gibson said.

According to Stoelting, the camp is ready in case Hurricane Rita forces evacuations in Texas. But Stoelting says, in that case, he would prefer to see the evacuees go to other camps, to let Dunklin County residents catch their breath after their hard work with Katrina Evacuees.