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Hurricane Katrina evacuees living in Texas reflect on 16th anniversary, as they pray for people impacted by Hurricane Ida

"Smoking for Jesus Ministry" held their annual church service remembering their evacuation from Hurricane Katrina, while Hurricane Ida makes landfall.

MARBLE FALLS, Texas — As Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana, it was an all too familiar feeling for those who survived Hurricane Katrina. Some of those who evacuated back in 2005, ended up here in Central Texas, including members of Smoking for Jesus Ministry in Marble Falls.

"Every year we go back and remember what God did and how he delivered us,” shared Willie Monnet Sr., the Pastor of Smoking for Jesus Ministry. "This is very unusual that another storm would be hitting the area right now."

Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on the anniversary of the storm that changed the lives of the members of Smoking for Jesus ministry.

"We thought it was going to be three days,” said Pastor Monnet of their evacuation back in 2005. “We didn't expect forever. 16 years now, we didn't have a clue. We thought we would be coming back at that time."

Sixteen years passed since the 52 families of this church left their home of New Orleans, and after a long journey interrupted by Hurricane Rita in Southern Texas, ended up in Marble Falls.

"It changed our lives because we lost everything. So, we didn't have anything. We had to start all over again” said Pastor Monnet.

Now, Marble Falls is home, with their church firmly rooted and even a restaurant in town run by the church, bringing a taste of New Orleans to the Hill Country. But as they mark the anniversary of Katrina, they are thinking about those in the middle of Hurricane Ida.

"So, there’s supposed to be a monster of a storm,” explained Pastor Monnet. “We pray that it won't be as bad as they claim and that they can survive it."

This church has weathered the storm, and although Texas was never a part of their plans, they say they have learned to trust. They hope those being impacted by Hurricane Ida will get the help they need and do the same.

"You had to trust God to see what he was going to do from day to day,” said Pastor Monnet. “And he came through."

The church held a screening of their movie "Mount Up" on Sunday night. It is musical play they created to share their journey evacuating Hurricane Katrina. 


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