Harvey evacuees arrive at state-run shelter in Shreveport, Alexa - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

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Harvey evacuees arrive at state-run shelter in Shreveport, Alexandria shelter at capacity

Around 90 people forced from their Lake Charles homes by high water after Harvey arrived at the state-run Shelter in Shreveport early Friday afternoon. (Source: KSLA News 12) Around 90 people forced from their Lake Charles homes by high water after Harvey arrived at the state-run Shelter in Shreveport early Friday afternoon. (Source: KSLA News 12)
A state-run shelter at the Old Sam's Club on Jewella Ave. in Shreveport has opened to evacuees from Hurricane Harvey. (Source: KSLA News 12) A state-run shelter at the Old Sam's Club on Jewella Ave. in Shreveport has opened to evacuees from Hurricane Harvey. (Source: KSLA News 12)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

The first evacuees from post-Harvey flooding in Lake Charles have arrived at a state-run shelter in Shreveport, which opened at 10 a.m. Friday. 

About 90 men, women, and children arrived at the shelter on two buses around 12:30 p.m. Some had their pets with them. 

Around 400-500 evacuees are expected to arrive throughout the course of the day.  

Gov. John Bel Edwards released a statement In a news release issued by Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services

"We are grateful that the worst-case scenario forecasted for our state did not play out, leaving us with the capacity to take care of both Louisianans and our neighbors to the West who were affected by this storm. My commitment is that we will do everything within our ability to provide the very best care possible and give those who are in our shelters the true Louisiana hospitality we are known for around the world."

The shelter, a former Sam's Club located at 8810 Jewella Avenue, has a capacity of  2,400. 

Caddo Sheriff and Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Steve Prator says the shelter is a Critical Transportation Needs (CTN) for evacuees with no means of transportation. 

Word of the shelter opening in Shreveport comes as the state-run mega-shelter in Alexandria, open since Wednesday, has reached its capacity of 2,000.

"Our shelter team in Shreveport has been making preparations since last week, setting up 2,400 cots and lining up other services at the Jewella shelter," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. "We were reminded as we visited the Alexandria mega-shelter yesterday that DCFS staff is uniquely qualified to serve people when they are their most vulnerable, and disasters are at the top of that list. I couldn't be prouder of our staff."

Shauna Sanford, a spokeswoman for Gov. John Bel Edwards, says 1,177 people spent the night there Thursday. 

In all, Sanford says 1,510 people were in six Louisiana shelters as of midnight Thursday. She says 1,384 of them came from Texas.

More than 200 others were staying at a parish-run shelter in Lake Charles. Sanford says the Red Cross opened three shelters - two in Rapides Parish and one in Caddo Parish.

The American Red Cross opened a 150-bed shelter Tuesday afternoon at Morning Star Baptist Church in Shreveport. There were 3 people staying there as of Friday morning. The shelter will stay open until it is determined that the CTN shelter on Jewella will be sufficient to handle the influx of evacuees, according to North Louisiana Red Cross Chapter Executive Director Michelle Davison. 

Another shelter opened at a church in Beauregard Parish.

It's not clear yet whether more evacuees could be coming from Texas. 

On Thursday, Gov. Edwards said the state is prepared and ready to shelter its Texas neighbors if necessary, telling reporters the state is planning to house an additional 3,000 people from Orange County, Texas, which was under a mandatory evacuation after Tropical Storm Harvey swamped its borders.

He said shelters are available in Lake Charles, Alexandria and Shreveport but state officials needed to confirm with Texas officials that coordinating such a response is "what they want us to do."

He noted that because of the extensive flooding in Texas, it's been difficult for first responders to get to the area, which borders Louisiana.

Edwards reassured Louisiana residents that accommodating displaced Texas residents "would in no way deprive someone in Louisiana of shelter space."

For evacuees who would like to let their family members, loved ones, friends know that they are safe and well, they are encouraged to register at www.safeandwell.org.  This same web site is available for those searching for a missing loved one, family member, a friend in a disaster area.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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