Local Hotels Brace For Hundreds Of Visitors Fleeing From Hurricane Dennis

As Hurricane Dennis turns inland, thousands are fleeing the coastlines. Many of those seeking shelter end up here in East Texas.
Local hotels said their phones have been ringing off the hook with calls from those fleeing the storm. The Holiday Inn Select in Tyler already has some visitors from Louisiana and Mississippi. Louisiana's hotels are packed to capacity. Visitors and hotel workers said after last summer's barrage of hurricanes, they have learned to act quickly.
"The thing of it is at our age and stuff, what are valuables?" said Linda Macaluso of New Orleans. "Your life is so much more important. So, we decided to go north and Texans are wonderful. They welcomed us with open arms. They've done it again and we wouldn't hesitate to leave if another one comes."
The hotel manager said their capacity is changing by the hour. As the storm turns and its path is less predictable, evacuees are calling and cancelling within ours of making reservations, only to call again and ask for another room.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com