10/04/2005 11:00PM

Katrina evacuee hits $1.6 million jackpot

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An evacuee from New Orleans won a $1,636,427 jackpot playing a quarter slot machine at Evangeline Downs's casino in Opelousas, La., on Tuesday night. The winner, Jacquelyn Sherman, was forced to leave her home because of Hurricane Katrina and has been living near Lafayette.

"This is the most exciting thing that could happen for Ms. Sherman and for us," said Mike Howard, general manager of Evangeline Downs. "To be part of changing someone's fortune during these trying times is a dream come true for all of us."

Evangeline, which is currently conducting a meet for Quarter Horses, has been active in raising funds for victims of Katrina. Along with its patrons, horsemen, and staff, the track raised $80,000 on a recent night of racing to help local evacuees from Katrina.

Evangeline opened a slots casino in December 2003.