Back From the Bayou

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

Call it high hopes and good intentions on a journey to the unknown.

The Black Caucus organized their pick-up in under 48 hours, intending to use donated Dean Trailways buses to bring 150 evacuees back to Lansing.

On board, 14 volunteers, as well as MLBC's Griffin Rivers, a New Orleans native, with contacts all over the state of Louisiana. They say those contacts promised 150 evacuees waiting at Southern University.

Instead, they unloaded the buses without anyone to fill the seats, and then spent the day scouring shelters for homeless people who might want to escape to Michigan.

At the shelter, it's clear Lansing isn't the only place openings its arms and its shelters. There are fliers from South Dakota, Minnesota, Ohio, cities all over the country offering places to live.

"People come with a van; I got two seats to Wisconsin, I got two seats to New Jersey; usually people don't respond," explains one Red Cross shelter manager, Pom Fountain.

The response to Rivers also: almost always No.

"I wanna go home; it may take a year, it may take two, but I wanna go home," says Tinson Lamar.

Mary Richardson answers, "49 years I been there, yes indeed."

Rivers, for his part though says, "I prefer not to point fingers, but I was informed 150 with no problems."

He and the Black Caucus shirk the blame, but acknowledge the letdown.

Five returned back to Lansing with the buses; A family of four, and one woman who came to live with her sister in Lansing.


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