The bus rolled in and evacuees stepped out to the unknown.
Hurricane survivor Ronald Hampton says, "thank you, thank you, thank you very much," as he hugs a volunteer.
Grateful to be alive and away from the Astrodome, Hampton wants a new start.
"I feel relieved, I feel happy, I feel confident right now, confidence as far as moving on," he says.
Bryan Burgess also made the 20 hour bus trip to Madison. "I am just kind of relieved that it is all over with, I mean I got through the flood, I got through the rain, all the chaos," he says.
While Burgess and the other evacuees have made it through, the storm has left scars.
"It was like one big riot, people running around trying to get out, people coming in with boats trying to save people getting knocked out of their boat," tells Burgess.
Hampton says, "you could hear people from down the block, two houses away, screaming and crying, it was rough."
It was Rita Adair's idea to bring evacuees to Madison. She says, "one of the men, his fiancé and son were drowned, they live right near the levee, they drowned and died."
"I lost a lot of friends that were like family to me, you just got to move on from it. It hurts and I don't want to dwell on it because I have a chance to be positive and move on," says Burgess.
"These are happy tears, happy, happy," says one of the volunteers.
They are happy because hundreds of volunteers can offer evacuees apartments they have cleaned out and spruced up. The warm welcome is giving new hope.
"The storm did not even come this way," says Burgess. "It is just unbelievable the way the city is willing to give you a fresh start, you know give you a place. And the people in general, the people that brought us on the bus to give us this opportunity, you don't see that everyday."
The coordinator, Rita Adair, tells NBC 15 that she plans fill 20 apartments on Allied Drive, and more evacuees could be here as soon as tomorrow. There will be a welcome party Saturday afternoon in the Allied Drive Neighborhood. At that time lots of community resources will be made available.