There are many former Gulf Coast residents no longer labeled hurricane evacuees rather they are now Dallas-Fort Worth residents who have now blended into the community.
It was 11 years ago when Hurricane Katrina bore down on Gil Sims’ hometown of New Orleans. She remembers it clearly. She also remembers the suffering, the crying and a life left in shambles. She remembers the aftermath and how most everyone she knew was boarding buses, piling into cars and heading out trying to escape the ugly and deadly outcome of a Category 5 Hurricane. It was a storm unlike any American had seen in their lifetime.
Gil’s journey to become a Texan is bitter sweet.
“I’m so happy I am here in Dallas, but of course I miss my life in New Orleans”
Between the census reports of 2000 and 2010, the Lower Ninth Ward population went from 14,000 to less than 3,000. It’s estimated some 100,000 people fled the area and did not return.
Gil’s home was devastated by Katrina. She made it to Houston with just a few days’ worth of clothes and then something happened. Someone told her about a company in North Texas, a company with a mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, and a management team that wasn’t afraid to let one express their religious beliefs.
“I’m someone who lost a whole lot, but has gained so much. I would have never become a CHRISTUS Associate had it not been for Katrina and working here has brought me real peace.”
Gil really thought she was going to eventually make it back to her original home. But, Gil, a CHRISTUS Health Patient Financial Services Associate, says she feels good saying she’s found a new one. If I want to praise Him, I can praise Him and that’s not something you can do everywhere these days.”
“Here’s the deal for me, I’m now at a place that if I want to praise Him for bringing me here safely, I can praise Him, and I realize that’s not something you can do everywhere these days. I’m blessed to be alive and I’m ok saying it.”