Louisiana's Capitol City Still a Mess

September 2, 2008
by Ben Roberts  

BATON ROUGE, LA - (WALB) -    Nearly two million people in Louisiana evacuated their homes as Hurricane Gustav approached. Most of them can't get back home just yet, and many of them are running into more problems Tuesday.

It will be weeks before the mess in Baton Rouge is cleaned up and days before power is back up in most areas.  That's causing more problems for already stressed hurricane evacuees.

Flashlights shining and luggage banging, hurricane evacuees, a seemingly endless line of them, traipse down the stairs at the downtown Baton Rouge Sheraton, forced to leave because the hotel's generator is out, and they have no idea when electricity will be restored.

"Just part of life living in Louisiana, I guess," said Hurricane Evacuee Wade LeBlanc. Sixteen members of the LeBlanc family came here from the coast to ride out the storm.

It's a special day for one of them. It's Logan LeBlanc's 11th birthday. "So this year it was here, but last time I spent it somewhere it was after Katrina," said Logan.

Yeah, Logan spent his 8th birthday somewhere in Texas, Evacuated after Katrina.  He missed his birthday party then, but hopes to be home Saturday so that won't happen again. "I hope.  I'm hoping that my friends do to so they can come."

The Fulton family is also looking for a place to stay, But staying calm isn't easy. "I'm trying to hold myself together for my three children," Latasha Fulton said.

Even as they pulled away from the Sheraton, They had no idea even which direction they would go. "Round two is not a good thing.  It's not a good thing," Fulton said.

Something else that's not a good thing? The weather.  Many of those evacuees will be driving through the rain as they look for a place to stay.  Just one more reminder of Hurricane Gustav.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said today most evacuees from that city should not expect to be allowed back home until Thursday at the earliest.