SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The American Red Cross opened a shelter Tuesday afternoon in Caddo Parish.
It's at Morning Star Baptist Church, 5340 Jewella Ave. in Shreveport. Shelter officials say it is open to anyone from Texas, South Louisiana or the ArkLaTex affected by flooding.
The Red Cross Shelter can hold 150 people. The shelter is equipped with cots, blankets, meals and comfort kits.
Two people arrived at the Red Cross shelter Tuesday. On Wednesday two families checked in bringing the total to 18, according to Michelle Davidson, executive director of the American Red Cross of North Louisiana.
Red Cross staff are working 12 hour shifts at the shelter.
"There will always be someone on staff with the Red Cross monitoring the shelter at all times," said Shelter Supervisor Shaniqua Washington.
The Red Cross also opened a shelter last week at Grace Christian Center in the Rapides Parish town of Glenmora.
Other Red Cross shelter locations are being prepared in Shreveport.
"We have other shelters that are prepared to be open. If they call for other evacuations from South Louisiana or we start getting major evacuees bused in from Texas, we are capable of opening larger shelters and being able to handle more population. Those are ready to open at a moment's notice," said Michelle Davidson of the Red Cross.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed Monday that the state is prepared to accept evacuees from Texas in Louisiana shelters, specifically in Shreveport.
"Our main challenge right now is setting up shelters," Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator said.
Two state-run shelters are also being prepared for Texas evacuees, said Sheriff Prator.
"The state-run shelters on Jewella and Atkinson, we're getting those ready because we understand that the state - the governor - will be talking in conjunction with the governor of Texas and they will be sending people up," Prator continued.
The state-run shelters are at 7455 Atkinson Drive in Shreveport and the former Sam's Club at Jewella Avenue at Meriwether Road in southwest Shreveport.
One would hold 2,000 people; the other, 1,600.
"Of course, the Shreveport Police Department and the Shreveport Fire Department will be working closely with the one in the city and the fire districts will be working the one outside, the one on Atkins," Prator said.
It's not definite, the sheriff added, but a state shelter/pet shelter may be set up at the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport.
"We are making sure that they're going to be checking for sex offenders as they come up to make sure that folks that we don't know that are going to be in one place, that they are compatible," Prator said. "So we're going to make sure that that's done.
"We learned our lessons on that," he said, referencing Hurricane Katrina.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has contracts with four facilities in Shreveport that are kept ready with cots, blankets, pillows," DCFS Secretary Marketa Walters said. "We're ready to always shelter in North Louisiana."
As possible, the Red Cross advises anyone evacuating to one of its shelters to bring essentials for each family member, including:
- Prescriptions and emergency medications
- Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
- Identification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents
- Hygiene supplies and other comfort items
- Supplies needed for children and infants such as diapers, formula and toys
- Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
- Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you