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John Hollenhorst Reporting Two months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, thousands of evacuees are still trying to kick-start new lives in remote places such as Utah. It's hard to imagine any of them having a nicer time of it than a family we first met in early September.
Sometimes when good luck comes to us, it's wrapped in a mysterious disguise. Did Hurricane Katrina actually do some good? Germaine Rogers would say, most affirmatively, yes.
Germaine Rogers, Katrina Survivor: “Good luck, good luck, it’s a blessing in disguise, say that, you know.”
He has a job now at the Big Lots closeout store in Kearns. His family, including long-time girl-friend Chinita Chairs, now has its own little slice of suburbia a long way from the crime, grime and trouble on the Hurricane Coast.
Chinita Chairs, Katrina Survivor: “It’s better, much better, quiet, cleaner, nicer people.”
They're settling in. Comfy, and planning to tie the knot soon after 11 years of living together, and leaving New Orleans together.
Germaine Rogers: "I wanna open a restaurant, you know, wanna have my own restaurant, here in Utah. Bring some Cajun cooking here. That's in the making but first I got to get some money and save first. So I'm just trying to get back on my feet, you know."
Bob and Marsha Kincaid helped them launch a new life last month. They charitably offered their house while Bob began a four-year assignment overseas.
Marsha Kincaid, Sept. 8: “I want them to fill it with love and laughter and make great memories. It’s a brand new beginning.”
Originally the Kincaid's offered their house for free for six months. Now the plan is for Chinita and Germaine to stay here four years, the first year to be covered by government housing grants. Now the four adults are close, like family, staying in touch by phone.
Chinita Chairs: “Never expected this. Never expected this kind of kindness and open-heartedness, and honestly I never expected this.”
With personal savings and FEMA disaster funds, they even managed to buy a used SUV. And to top it off, they entered a sweepstakes and won a free trip.
Germaine Rogers: "Like I say, everything's a blessing. It ain't luck. It’s a blessing. God blessed us with everything."
The free trip is to Las Vegas, where luck is always a valuable commodity
Chinita and Germaine are planning to get married in the next few months. The date has not yet been decided.