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Some Ida evacuees head home from Longview, others must wait

KLTV's Jamey Boyum spoke to David Clement, an evacuee from southern Louisiana. (Source: KLTV...
KLTV's Jamey Boyum spoke to David Clement, an evacuee from southern Louisiana. (Source: KLTV Staff)(KLTV Staff)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 12:13 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2021 at 8:05 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Many Hurricane Ida evacuees are still staying at East Texas hotels even though some have discovered they have power, and it’s safe to go home. Some evacuees have been able to get enough information to make a move back towards their homes.

Debra Lewis lives in St. Bernard Parish. She and Jessica and Camden Lopez, her daughter and grandson, have been in Longview since Saturday and have heard about the storm’s effects on their property.

“We were very lucky. We have lost power, and we have a lot of trees and wires down; no stores, no gasoline stations. But, compared to other people, we did fabulously,” Lewis said.

Debra’s husband works for St. Bernard Parish and is still there. He told Debra their home weathered the storm.

“We’re happy to be going back to what we’re going back to because when we went back after Katrina, it was like a war zone,” Lewis said.

They are headed towards home, but not going all the way yet. Kimberly Gobert is from Sulphur Louisiana, which is west of Lake Charles. She and her family came to Longview because they have already weathered one hurricane.

“We were out with so long with hurricane Laura, we got destroyed, and when I heard about another one, I was like, ‘Nope, we’re gone.’ So my husband and I packed up our kids and left,” Gobert said.

Gobert heard they have power at home, so they’re packing up. But Lewis is concerned about those who are unable to leave because they can’t afford it or are disabled.

She said next time around, “We need a pre-placement area to be able to bring these people to, and we need to leave early for any major storm. A cat three, four and up,” Lewis said.

Lewis said she thinks there are too many rooftop rescues happening because of that very reason. However, both families say they did enjoy their stay in Longview.

“Oh, it was great. I’m not ready to go home, but I am ready to go home,” Gobert said.

There is a trickle of families packing it up and heading home, but many will stay put until they know power is restored or as long as they can afford it. Several evacuees have said they appreciate many area hotels allowing pets in the rooms.

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