Hurricane Evacuees Fill Up East Texas Hotels

Many Hurricane Ivan evacuees are taking refuge in East Texas.

Hotels in Tyler, Longview and Marshall are full.

There are 88 rooms at the Wingate Inn in Southwest Tyler. At least 60 of them, or 70 percent, are reserved by evacuees.

The hotel manager says most of the people have checked in. Some are still on their way from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Tonight, we talked to a family of nine from Kenner, LA staying at Wingate Inn. It took the Perry family 22 hours to get to Tyler on what would normally be an 8-hour trip.

They took I-10 West and in some stretches along the way, the opposite lanes were opened up for evacuees like them. But they say it still wasn't enough.

"The traveling was really hard," David Perry said. "The bumper-to-bumper traffic was probably the worst thing. Once we got past that and we were moving, it was a relief to be out of the traffic. And now we are just praying for everybody that got left behind."

Before they left home, the Perrys boarded up their house and moved everything outside that could be projectiles into their home.

The Perry family and others are continuing to watch weather reports in their rooms. They'll stay here as long as they need to, until the storm passes.

Julie Tam, reporting.