BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - For 22-year-old Marvin Sparks, watching what's going on in New Orleans is a frightening reminder of what happened 3 years ago. But now, he's in a much safer place than he was then. "I actually got caught in Katrina. I was in the house and we took in 8 feet of water in Katrina. So I didn't get out until 5 days after Katrina."
Sparks and 12 of his family members got to the Jameson Inn in Bainbridge early this morning. After being hit hard by Katrina, and even losing family, they made the decision early on to leave. "We weren't taking our chances this time. Seeing as how we got caught up last time, we was like, its time to go we're not going through that no more," explained Sparks.
What normally would be a 5 or 6 hour drive to Bainbridge took the New Orleans family 21 hours. But they said kind help from a stranger helped them along the way. "My niece works here," said Vera Tribble. "She called me and said there was a family in Mississippi that were trying to get here ."
"By the traffic being redirected, navigation wasn't working. It kept trying to tell us the shortest route or fastest route which was I-10," said Sparks. Familiar with Mississippi, Tribble got on the phone and gave the family directions. "It was a long process and she stayed with us so she stayed with us the whole way through. The whole 21 hours," Sparks said.
Also wanting to help, James Dickerson is offering the spare room in his Bainbridge home to any evacuees needing a place to stay. "I just felt the need. I live here alone, I've got the room, I said I can offer a place for shelter," Dickerson said.
Originally from New Orleans, he sees the need to help and hopes others will do the same. "If they're in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, anywhere, from New York to California, if you can help someone you should."
Like Dickerson, Tribble didn't think twice about offering help. But for someone in need, it made all the difference. "Can't thank her enough for that. There's no telling where we would have ended up," said Sparks.