Number Of Gulf Coast Evacuees Soars At Marshall Shelter - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/29/05-Tyler

Number Of Gulf Coast Evacuees Soars At Marshall Shelter

East Texas has become a temporary home to thousands of storm evacuees. The number of people at the Marshall Civic Center has nearly tripled since noon today. Some evacuees are already facing the reality of what's waiting for them when they go back home.

"I don't feel right. This ain't ever happened to me," says Yvette Cocroft, 44, of New Orleans. She's one of nearly 150 residents calling the Marshall Convention Center their temporary home. Just before we talked to her, Cocroft received upsetting news from her brother, who stayed in New Orleans. "The roof had come off. I had some water damage to my car."

Other evacuees such as Orlando Watson, 27, of New Orleans had no idea how their home fared in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. "All the phones are down, cell phones, none of that works." Watson says he wants to imagine the worst, so that if those fears come true, he won't be devastated. "If I get a call and they say your house is flooded, that's my worse. If they say it's gone, you can't replace that."

Richard Sherwood, says he realizes his home will not be standing when he goes back to Biloxi, MS. "They're talking about F4 tornado power weather," says Sherwood. "And we live in a trailer. The wind is going to be an issue."

Although everyone we spoke with says their fate is uncertain, evacuees say they're glad they're in a safe place tonight. "The way my brother says the roof caved in, that would have fell on us," said Cocroft. "I would have been hurt, my mom would have been hurt."

Oralia Ortega, reporting, ortega@kltv.com

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