Katrina and House Fire Victims Find Friends in the Lost Cajuns

(WVLT) - A family that moved to Sevier County after losing their home to Hurricane Katrina and then lost their house to a fire in Sevierville are getting some support from some new friends from back home.

"First Katrina, then her Dad, then her Mom... I mean within less than eight months," said Gerald Rome.

Rome, his wife, Cheryl, and their three young daughters moved to Sevierville from New Orleans last year to start a new life after losing everything they owned. Last Tuesday, fire destroyed their rental home.

"I kind of felt like Job, you know, losing everything, what more could happen to us?" Gerald said.

But the family has seen an outpouring of generosity from their community since the fire.

"The community, I mean, has just swamped together and just... God, I'm at a loss for words," said Gerald.

They are also getting emotional help from a group called the Lost Cajuns.

"Former Louisiana natives that have chosen to reside in East Tennessee. We started with ten families back in 2004. We're well over 300 families now," said Jennifer Johnson, founder of the Lost Cajuns.

The group is giving the Rome family a taste of home from the food to the stories of the way it used to be. The Rome family joined several members of the Lost Cajuns Sunday to watch the New Orleans Saints play.

"We've offered friendship to them, that is the key in life. We've also stepped up to help them with some gift cards for local restaurants in the Sevierville area," said Johnson.

Gerald Rome says even after all they've been through, this Christmas will still be a happy one for her children. "They're probably going to have the best Christmas this year that we've ever had, that's what makes me really happy."

"It's another tragedy that we had, but its going to be better. It was better after Katrina, it's going to be better after this," Sheryl Rome said.

The Rome's landlord is building them a new house and in the meantime, they staying at a hotel the landlord owns. There is also a fund set up to help the family at Y-12 Credit Union. You can make a donation in the Rome family name at any branch.

The Lost Cajuns is a social club and there is no membership fee. If you are a Lousiana native living in East Tennessee you can join. For more information, go to their website.


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