Inmates assist with setting up cots at the Bossier Civic Center, where a shelter is set up to handle hurricane evacuees who have special medical needs.
BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -
Caddo-Bossier emergency officials say Northwest Louisiana is prepared to take on hundreds of evacuees from South Louisiana if necessary ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac.
At a briefing on Northwest Louisiana storm support operations Monday afternoon, CBOHSEP Director Sandy Davis said the Caddo-Bossier area has shelters in place and ready.
"We do not expect a large influx of residents from South Louisiana to evacuate here in North Louisiana. However, if the storm gets out in the gulf and that warm water in the gulf and it does intensify, and of course there's always that chance that we'll see a large influx of evacuees here. We're certainly prepared for that," said Davis.
The first and only shelter to open so far is at the Physical Education building at LSU Shreveport, where a Red Cross official says that they've had just a few requests for shelter Monday night. As many as 500 to 700 evacuees could be housed if necessary.
NWLA Red Cross Assistant Director Michelle Davison says the LSUS shelter opened at 4:00 p.m., but that so far there have been just a few requests for anyone to stay there.
Riverview Theater on Clyde Fant in Shreveport is also on standby, prepared to take on 500 evacuees, although that shelter has not been opened. LSUS and Riverview Theater, along with sites on Jewella Avenue (the old Sam's Club) and Atkinson Drive (Westpark in West Shreveport) are all state-run shelters.
According to the city of Shreveport, the old Sam's Club and Westpark can hold 2,400 and 1,500 evacuees, respectively. Both are Critical Transport Needs shelters.
Enough cots have also been set up at the Bossier Civic Center for about 100 evacuees with special medical needs and their care takers.
Under a statewide evacuation and sheltering plan, shelters will be filled first in central Louisiana before any evacuees would be sent further north.
Texarkana, Texas also will provide shelter. The St. Louis Baptist Church at 4000 Frankston Highway opened at 8 p.m. Monday. For more information call Tammy Prater at 903-752-1854.
The Red Cross is still looking for volunteers to help operate the shelters, should they become activated. For more information on how to donate time and resources can contact the American Red Cross at (318) 865-9545 or go to www.redcross.org.