Love, faith above disaster

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December 03, 2006|By Amy Davis | Amy Davis,Sun Staff

It was an extraordinarily emotional moment this fall when the Helen and Reynoud Duplessis hugged Scott Adams in gratitude for bringing them to Baltimore and helping them settle in a newly rehabbed rowhouse in West Baltimore.

The Duplessis family was left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. I met the family in September, long after their harrowing journey fleeing New Orleans and living in shelters.

When Reynoud Duplessis bought one-way tickets to Baltimore for his wife, Helen, and their six children, he didn't know what the future would bring. All he knew was that a minister from the Messiah Community Church in Reisterstown named Scott Adams, who was in Louisiana to help Katrina victims, had promised that if they relocated to Baltimore he would personally take care of them as if they were his own family.

Scott Adams was true to his word, and this photo, taken at a dedication ceremony for their Sandtown Habitat for Humanity house, shows the emotional closeness between Adams and the Duplessises. The photo appears this Sunday's edition of The Sun's UniSun supplement.

I especially like the expression on the Duplessis' daughter Alysia's face (second from left), as she watches this heartfelt embrace. Both Helen and Reynoud are strikingly upbeat despite all the challenges they've faced, and it's clear to me that love and faith anchor this family.

The Duplessises call themselves survivors, not victims, even though they were homeless. It's true they didn't have a house to call their own, but it seems to me they were never homeless in their hearts, because the emotional shelter that faith and a loving family provides shielded them. I'm looking forward to trying Helen's gumbo.

A portfolio of other images taken by Sun photographers can be seen at www.baltimoresun.com/viewfinder.

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