After more than a week, Beaumont evacuees finally head home - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TYLER (KLTV)

After more than a week, Beaumont evacuees finally head home

All day long, a steady stream of buses has been pulling in to carry hundreds of residents back home. For more than a week, Hurricane Ike kept thousands of evacuees from Beaumont from their homes. KLTV 7's Layron Livingston was there as shelters cleared out, buses loaded up, and lives finally began to get back to normal for everyone involved.

Bus after bus, a sight for sore eyes.

"They got on the bus very orderly, very quickly...and they were ready to find a seat and get on the road,"

But once on board, it was time for a quick pit stop. Reunited, and it feels so good. Both puppies and parents are now all too familiar with this process.

It's Danita Roberts' second time in Tyler. She evacuated for both Gustav and Ike.

"You worry about is my house intact, or am I still able to go to a house," said Roberts. "So, it's really kind of emotional and nerve wracking at the same time."

For nine days, the Red Cross shelter at Green Acres Baptist Church was home for Wilma Edwards.

"We do not know what we have to face when we go back, but we hope everything is okay," said Edwards.

"Gustav was nowhere near as bad as Ike," said Tyler city manager Bob Turner today.  

Turner also says the lessons he learned were just as important.

"The fact that we've simplified the process, and the fact that everyone knew that once we left here that there wasn't going to be another spot....until they got to Beaumont....and that helped the process a lot."

Volunteers are already busy sanitizing cots and getting blankets ready for laundry. Tammy Prater with the American Red Cross says there's still work to be done.

"There are kitchens and ERV's and shelter teams and hundreds of volunteers in the Houston/Beaumont area that are going to be taking care of evacuees as they return home."

Back to Beaumont, hopefully to life as normal.

As families focus on putting their lives together, TXU Energy is offering assistance to it's customers who were affected by Hurricane Ike.

For more information, click here.

Layron Livingston, reporting. llivingston@kltv.com

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