STORIES FROM KATRINA
George Huff Visits His Hometown of New Orleans
By David Kithcart
The 700 Club
The 700 Club took George Huff up in a helicopter to check on the status on his home in New Orleans after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Happily for him, the news was good.
George Huff: There it is. That’s it right there.
DAVID KITHCART: Well, it looks okay.
George Huff: It looks okay.
DAVID KITHCART (reporting): George wanted to take us on the ground in New Orleans to the place where he grew up. It’s also the place where he discovered a love for music.
George Huff: I used to beat on those poles right there. It makes this weird, really cool sound.
DAVID KITHCART: And you were listening to music coming from the French Quarter?
George Huff: Well, yes.
DAVID KITHCART: You were playing along with it.
George Huff: The French Quarter is right here. So we used to walk down there to pick money up for my dad. But before you would get there, like walking right across the street, you just hear stuff playing all day, all night. I was singing in this room, “Keep smiling, keep shining / Knowing you can always count on me for sure.” And I would hit that high note. I could go, “I’ll be on your side forever more.” [At first] I couldn’t do it but one day I was in that room, and I hit the note. I was five years old, and I ran downstairs. And I said, “Ma, I can sing. I can sing.” She said, “Boy, get out of this kitchen. You can’t sing.” [But] I was always trying. I knew after hitting that note that something special had happened. She listened to me and said, “Call your cousin Cornell on the telephone.” I called him, and he came over. He listened to me, and ever since then I’ve been singing in churches all over. When I grew up here, my mom used to talk about in her day how everybody in the neighborhood watched over everybody, and if we did something wrong, we got a whipping from this one, from that one, from everybody in the neighborhood. The parents would whip you. That’s the old school way. Well, I got a little bit of that. In this particular court it was a bunch of love in here. This is the projects, and a lot of crime and all of that happened here. There were a lot of courts that were full of love and unity. This is one of the courts.
DAVID KITHCART: Well, a lot of the people who were evacuated most likely were coming out of here.
George Huff: Coming out of here. Yes.
DAVID KITHCART: Yes. Now what was your take on that whole thing in terms of what happened to them?
George Huff: Politically speaking, I definitely think something could have been done, a proper plan.
DAVID KITHCART: Now what was that like for you to see what was happening while you were watching television, because you could see it on TV. It was kind of becoming a war zone.
George Huff: It was becoming a war zone. I almost saw myself. I couldn’t say I knew what they were going through, but I saw myself in their shoes. The fact that I know that if I was still living here that I would be one of those people from this neighborhood trying to get out. It was really heartbreaking. I said, “Man, what’s going to happen to these people?” I was just hoping that they could get out. But looking at this neighborhood and knowing where I’ve been, I know that God is able. I’ve seen Him move us from here – we moved all over the city of New Orleans – and take us to the east side, which is all flooded, then the west bank. I’ve seen Him just do miraculous things, things I’ve never seen Him do, not just for me, but for my sister, my brothers, people in this neighborhood. He’s done some great things, and I thank Him for where He has me now and the fact that I’ll be able to help a lot more people.
DAVID KITHCART (reporting): George has a new CD coming out in October entitled Miracles. He believes that it’s not a coincidence that some of it’s songs can be applied to the events played out recently in New Orleans. There are a lot of people who are have to forgive on both sides of what happened here at the Superdome, the people who were left behind, the people who were up on the bridge, as well as the people who were trying to maintain law and order. Now what’s the answer for that? How do they get to the point where there can be forgiveness?
George Huff: That is definitely going to take time, but I know it’s having to look at [what] we do have. We were given another chance to make things right. There it is again. I know that I’ve got enough to make things right if I have the love inside. Before we go to anybody else, before myself and for the life that I’m getting ready to live, that I have to live ahead of me. That’s where it’s going. It just starts on the inside. I’m happy. I’m thankful to God that I’ve been given the chance to see another day. Whatever happened in the past, yes, it’s going to take me some time to get over it. But if I can just press towards the light . . . . I know something is on the way. Brighter days are on the way.
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