Evacuees Call Hotels Home - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Evacuees Call Hotels Home

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ALEXANDRIA, La. -- Thousands of evacuees around the state are heading toward Central Louisiana trying to escape the storm.

While some are choosing to stay in emergency shelters, others are checking in at hotels right here in Alexandria.

News Channel Five's Brooke Buford stopped by the Holiday Inn Express in Alexandria to meet one family who's calling the hotel their temporary home.

"We got here yesterday," said Lee. "We ended up in Alexandria. We drove two hours to Lafayette and then North up here."

It's April's first time evacuating to Alexandria, but certainly not her first evacuation.

"It gets kind of hard, but since it is family, they help you and comfort you if you start to get scared or you're watching the Weather Channel and you start to freak out because its going right over our house," she said.

She says her home in LaPlace tends to flood quickly. So when it looks like a hurricane is headed their way, she and her family pack up the essentials.

"I know in this one, I brought my diploma," she said. "And then I have a bow collection, I couldn't leave that. This is just all my stuff from high school that I just got that I didn't want to leave that behind in case it got wiped out."

Her grandmother has become a pro at evacuating.

"I'd say I really can't count the number of times," said Luella Ballew, April's grandmother. "Actually, the first hurricanes that I can remember as a young person, they weren't even named."

Meanwhile at the front desk phones have been ringing off the hook for evacuees, like April's family, trying to book rooms.

"We actually had some bookings early last week," said Tracy Godwin, the hotel manager. "A lot of the people who have been through this several times book early. If you don't book early, they'll end up quite some distance from home."

And while hotel staff members say they're glad to have the rooms booked, they say for their guests sake, they hope it's just for a few days.

"We're hoping that they'll stay for a couple of days and then be able to go home," said Godwin.

April's family is looking to check-out at the end of the week, as long as Isaac doesn't have other plans.

At our latest check-up with the Holiday Inn Express, they told us they only had five rooms still open. But, they say that's changing by the minute.

As far as other surrounding hotels, the Alexandria and Pineville visitor's bureau says hotels in the area are about 75% booked.

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