Guest / Limited Access /

In T-shirts and pajama bottoms they'd worn for four days and shoes caked in New Orleans sludge, Christopher and Monika Sheppard arrived at Houston's Astrodome. In one arm was a cardboard box that held all they owned that the rising waters didn't snatch before they escaped. In another arm was their 16-month-old son, Jackson, quiet with fever and clutching a baby bottle.

They joined an ever-growing number of those made homeless when levees broke following Hurricane Katrina's rampage through Louisiana last week. Although the family owned a car, like many residents of the below-sea-level city who weathered the storm in their homes, they stayed because they had no place to go outside New Orleans and thought they could ride it out.

An inch of water seeped into their basement apartment. Christopher, 27, the son of a retired Baptist pastor, put his wallet and identification documents on top of the refrigerator for safe keeping and took Monika and Jackson upstairs. Three hours later they returned to find four feet of murky water in their apartment. The refrigerator had capsized. The water swallowed the wallet and papers.

The Sheppards had met in a karaoke bar. "I was singing 'God Bless the USA' and he fell in love," said Monika, 35, an opera singer. Two years ago they married. A Catholic, she worked in New Orleans's famed St. Louis Cathedral and freelanced for various occasions.

The sewage-contaminated waters destroyed her music and concert gowns. Christopher, a carpenter, lost his tools. Monika put a canvas purse in a box that contained baby clothes and one pair of women's underwear and pants. Christopher set Jackson on his shoulders. They waded through chest-deep water a half mile to an Interstate 10 bridge, one of the few dry places ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueMy Home Has 'Murder' in Its Name
Subscriber Access Only
My Home Has 'Murder' in Its Name
How Russell Jeung met Jesus among the Southeast Asian gangs of Oakland.
RecommendedGlobal Evangelical Leaders: Trump’s Win Will Harm the Church’s Witness
Global Evangelical Leaders: Trump’s Win Will Harm the Church’s Witness
Conference call explores election consequences on evangelicals overseas.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickFairness for All: Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights
Fairness for All: Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights
It worked in Utah. But national effort by the CCCU and NAE will be more complicated.
Christianity Today
I Was a Stranger
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.