Lost And Found In Relocation

utah, evacuees

Tidy and snow covered, West Jordan, Utah, could hardly be more different than New Orleans, but Hurricane Katrina evacuee Germaine Rogers is trying hard to make a new home here.

CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports Rogers and his family are among some 600 black, mostly Southern Baptist, evacuees who found themselves transplanted to a state that is overwhelmingly white and Mormon.

Evacuee Tahira Lee says she often catches people staring. But she was just as surprised to have ended up here. Officials were afraid to tell the evacuees they were being sent to Utah — where less than 1 percent of the population is black and even the landscape is foreign.

It was the first time Charles Barnett saw mountains. "I thought it was fake. I thought it was a picture or something," he says, recounting the experience. "I seen this here and said are those real mountains?"

For some this place that is so different from Louisiana is too different, or too distant. Of the 600 flown here after Katrina, about 300 have left — most have gone back to the South.

Pastor France Davis has been here more than 30 years. He knows why so many have left.

"Takes a lot of strength. Takes a lot of personal, spiritual and internal strength in order to make it and to cope," says Davis.

When Germaine Rogers and his family first got here they lived in a cramped barracks. Now they have a suburban home donated by a serviceman on duty in Europe. His daughter Jada is settled into school, and the neighbors have made them feel at home.

"They just accepted us. I just love the hospitality, so I can call this Southern hospitality," he says with a laugh.

In New Orleans, Tahira Lee dreamed of getting out of the projects and going to college. In Utah she's done both.

"It just was hard being a single mom living in New Orleans. It just was hard. But when I came up here I just got so much help," says Lee.

For all of Katrina's destruction, the storm is giving some a second chance — in a place they never would have imagined.