Gustav evacuee expectations lead to frustration, anger

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Contrasting expectations from evacuees and from Shreveport- Bossier residents led to frustration and even anger this week.

Based on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many evacuees expected the government to hand-out cash and even set them up in hotel rooms.  The reality:  That was a rare exception because three years ago those evacuees could 'not' return home for months.

But when the public saw protests Thursday at one of the state-run shelters in west Shreveport, that struck a nerve with the public, thousands of whom have donated countless hours to help.  That's because the protests came "after" local, state and federal agencies rushed to fix unacceptable conditions immediately.

Incredibly long hours by emergency, rescue and law enforcement personnel helped create a safe environment, with three meals a day at all the shelters.  A red cross official says near-constant complaining led to more 'volunteer fatigue.'  But we're told it came from a very small, but vocal population of evacuees.

"For every one that you get that is like that, you get ten up right behind them saying, 'you know what, never mind that.  You guys are doing a great job.  We really appreciate you being there," said Michelle Davison with the Red Cross.

Davison also told us there was a huge difference in complaints among certain shelter populations.  She said evacuees who drove up here did not complain as much, or as intensely, as those who were bused up here.

Davison also expressed frustration with the slow pace of returning hurricane evacuees to their home parishes.  She said the southern parishes need to understand that the longer they wait for everything to be 'perfect,' the more strain it puts on northern parishes-- and the evacuees.