Thursday, October 06, 2005

Homeless Librarian Hits Jackpot after Katrina

A homeless victim of the storm that ravaged New Orleans shelled out US$4.25 ($6.20) in quarters and won a US$1.6 million jackpot at a Louisiana casino where she had stopped to play the slot machines on her way to shop at a Wal-Mart discount store.

"I am a casino fanatic, it relaxes my nerves," said Jacquelyn Sherman, a 57-year-old retired librarian whose fortune changed on Tuesday. "I like winning but I never expected to win like this."

Sherman has been sleeping on her sister's floor in Opelousas, Louisiana, since the storm ravaged her house and killed hundreds of New Orleans residents in late August.

Sherman said she is determined to find a new, comfortable home back in the Big Easy.

The casino where she got lucky with the slot machine was Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino in Opelousas, near Lafayette where many victims of Katrina and later Hurricane Rita sought shelter.

With regard to Wal-Mart, Sherman said: "We haven't got there yet." REUTERS