Texas evacuees return home

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Platt family packs up their belongings to return to 0range. They're leaving the Nacogdoches Recreation Center which served as Shelter A. They've been there since Saturday. The experience is different from Rita. That time they stayed with an aunt in Louisiana. Almetria Platt laughed,  " This place was much better. They treated us real nice in Nacogdoches. I'm glad we came this way.

American Red Cross volunteer Kathryn Robertson attributes the praise to preparedness.    " We were very grateful to all the planning that Red Cross did to get us ready for this. " The Emergency Operations Center closed at 8:30 Tuesday morning.

Despite the hospitality, when the evacuation orders were lifted Texas residents rapidly exited shelters and hotels. Kathryn McCoy of Jasper had been here because of her kids.    " I was just being on the safe side and just come down here and I ain't gonna put my children in any kind of danger. "

Nursing home residents from Beaumont will spend one more night in Nacogdoches.   They're staying at the Austin house. That's an assisted living facility equipped to handle their guests special needs. Twenty four nursing home residents left Beaumont early. Director Lillie Boudreaux had a plan in place. " We are all in the realm of being prepared. The biggest thing is to make sure that you have your hurricane and your emergency preparedness information in place and ready. " Before the residents can return to Beaumont there must be a complete check of the facility where they live. That was done today.

Meanwhile, Louisiana evacuees can't go home. Their orders are to stay put. Some were sent to Lufkin shelters. Others are going to shelters in their home state. And then there are those who don't know what to do. Katrina survivor Terrelle Wilson of New Orleans said,  " I'm not sure if I'm going to do this every two or three years. I don't know. I think less people are going to go back this time."

But each hurricane packs a different degree of threat.  Gustav threw East Texas a curve, but it worked out to the advantage of major retailers. A lot of East Texans bought a lot of hurricane items from batteries to generators. Your bill may be high, but think of it the way Carl Platt does. He said of Gustav,  " Wasn't quite as tough, but better safe than sorry. " That's the number one piece of advice to remember during all threatening weather.