‘I don’t know what to do’: New Orleans evacuee in Austin says she’s running out of resources


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some people who evacuated along the Gulf Coast said they don’t feel safe going home until the power is back on.

This map shows more than a million people in Louisiana are still in the dark, including the greater New Orleans area.

“I’m just praying like, ‘please, electricity, come back on, because I want to go home,'” said Glenda Diagne, who left and came to Austin.

She doesn’t know how long the power will be out at home, and she’s running out of resources.

Her brother stayed behind with her elderly parents, who refused to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Ida.

“My brother’s phone is apparently dead, because I can’t reach him, and both lines for my parents, they’re down, I can’t — the service is not working,” Diagne said.

Diagne, her daughter, two grandkids and two dogs have been staying at a local hotel since Friday.

“I’m depleting my funds,” she said.

She’s been contacting different agencies for help but hasn’t found much in the way of housing.

Austin’s homeland security department told KXAN it’s referring everyone to the Red Cross, but those shelters don’t take pets.

They recommended Red Rover for that, but a spokesperson there said they’re still working on a list of pet-friendly emergency evacuation centers.

KXAN reached out to the Austin Disaster Relief Network. They didn’t have any information on free hotel stays or vouchers for evacuees.

“I don’t know what to do,” Diagne said.

You may remember the City of Austin helped house Hurricane Laura evacuees last year. They have an agreement with Galveston County for that.

City officials and the Texas Division of Emergency Management also said this time, the state of Louisiana hasn’t asked for help.

Diagne has stayed a couple nights at her friend’s house in Austin but doesn’t want to overstay with such a big group.

“I don’t like to be a burden to anybody,” Diagne said.

She is hoping to share her story and connect with businesses or groups offering hotel stays or other evacuees until they can all go home.

“Sharing information — maybe they may know something I don’t know,” she said.

Neither the state nor the city of Austin said they have an estimate of how many Hurricane Ida evacuees are in the Austin area right now.

One group of Austin hotels that were offering free stays to evacuees through Tuesday night said they booked up quickly. All 100 rooms have been taken.

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