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Hurricane Ida evacuees flock to Marianna

Louisiana license plates fill the parking lots of Marianna hotels, and their owners fill the...
Louisiana license plates fill the parking lots of Marianna hotels, and their owners fill the rooms.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 8:23 PM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Many Louisiana residents decided to evacuate their homes before Hurricane Ida hit. When they evacuated, some found themselves in Marianna, partly because they just jumped in their cars and headed east.

“We must’ve called 28 to 30 hotels and there were no rooms,” evacuee Regina Naquin said. “This was the first place we could find that actually had rooms available for us.”

Some evacuees tried to go west, toward Texas but realized the traffic would hold them up, so they decided to come towards Florida instead.

“With me traveling with my mom who is handicapped and has health issues, I thought this way would be the better decision,” evacuee Jeanine Paul said.

Marianna hotels began filling up fast as early as Saturday, August 28, and they’ve been full ever since.

“They came in about three days ago and started checking in,” Comfort Inn Housekeeping Director Lori Vickers said. “It’s sad that we had to turn people away, but we got pretty well full within the first day.”

Unfortunately, many of the evacuees have one thing in common, other than staying at Marianna hotels: they don’t know when they’ll be able to go home.

“The last we heard, we’re gonna be without electricity for at least four weeks,” Naquin said. “No water, no running water, and no electricity.”

“We don’t know when we’ll be able to get back,” Paul added. “We’ve been told that some of the interstates and roadways are shut down still.”

However, the evacuees say they’ve felt the generosity of the locals while they’ve been here. Several organizations are planning to hold food drives for the evacuees, and more information about that will be posted as it comes.

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