Hurricane Evacuees Will Have An Extended Stay In East Texas

It looks like many Hurricane Katrina evacuees will not be able to go back to their homes for at least another week or more. What was originally thought to be a stay of just a night or two in East Texas will be much longer.

Fred Barraco and his family thought they'd be in Lufkin for no more than a couple of days. Now, they've been told it will be at least a week before they can go back home.

"We didn't bring enough clothes. We didn't bring enough of anything, really. I mean, I have credit cards [and] I'm charging, but that's getting out of hand now," says Barraco.

That's a similar story for many families living in East Texas hotels and shelters. No doubt, many thought they'd be getting ready to go back home by now.

"We have enough clothes right now, but we don't know exactly what we're going to do. But, people from New Orleans are strong people. We've been through a lot, so we know how to deal with things and, hopefully, we'll be able to pull together and work as a team,  and do what we have to do to in order to survive," says New Orleans resident Terry Allen.

Others are just trying to make the best of things, but it's hard.

"Well, we've extended our day at the hotel, obviously, and that's all we can do. We really are in a state of shock. So, initially, make it like a little vacation. And that's fine, but I just can't find any interest in doing anything else. We're just functioning," says Sheila Meza, a hurricane evacuee.

"I don't know if my house is completely under water. I don't know if my job still going to be in existence. I don't know if the company's going to go out of business. It's just [that] we don't know what's going on right now. Hopefully, everything will get back to normal, but can I survive that long? That's the question:  'Can I survive that long?'," asks Barraco.

For now, all that storm evacuees can do is wait until it's safe to go back home, and worry about what they might find once they get there.

Many displaced hurricane victims received more bad news on Tuesday. People living in Louisiana's Jefferson Parish have been told they can return in about a week, but only to gather what belongings they can. After that, they'll have to leave again for at least another month.