Evacuees' Family Member, Friend Die In Hurricane

They arrived in a caravan, after 18 hours of driving and an overnight stay at a local motel. But the family of 60 taking shelter at First Christian Church is not complete.

"Family that's headed for Atlanta and Mississippi, wherever all y'all are at, we're ok," Louise Hodges, from Violet, Louisiana, said.

While the family of evacuees fled in different directions, some of their loved ones stayed behind in Louisiana, leaving the ones in Tyler worried about their safety.

Just this afternoon, the family received word that one of their family members and a friend died in the storm.

Their hometown was right in the path of the hurricane, southeast of New Orleans, between the Mississippi River and Lake Borgne.

"Oh, look and say 'hey,' one mother told her daughter today. "Say, 'we love you, Mama, we hope you're safe, we know you're trapped in the house.'"

"Right now, we talked to them," Michelle Campbell, another relative, said. "And they say the water's to the ankles. They went outside. It's to the waist."

With no phone service in Louisiana, it's very hard for some of the family members to reach family left behind there. So the only way they're finding out information is by watching the news on TV.

Meanwhile, red cross volunteers are making sure everyone has plenty of food and rest, while they wait.

"We don't even know if we can go back home," Hodges said.

The Red Cross plans to keep the shelter open until federal officials give the go-ahead for people to return home. Right now, no one is allowed back in to Southeast Louisiana.

Julie Tam, reporting. jtam@klotv.com