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Hurricane Ida evacuees staying in Mississippi longer than expected as storm cleanup begins

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:06 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - More than 24 hours since Hurricane Ida swept through Louisiana, many evacuees still find themselves in Mississippi.

The Lousiana residents said there are a few reasons.

One is because some can’t get home due to the roads being flooded or blocked with trees and other storm debris.

Another reason is that many of the residents don’t have any power where they live.

Then you have others whose homes were damaged and don’t have a place to stay right now.

As a result, the Magnolia State is their temporary residence.

For a lot of the evacuees, these past few days have been hectic; just ask Jeremey Lisotta.

Over the weekend, he evacuated from his Louisiana home due to Hurricane Ida, only to find out it was damaged during the storm.

He hasn’t seen his home, so right now, he still doesn’t know the full extent of the damages.

“All I know is that it was hit, and I left a lot of important stuff because I didn’t think we would get hit too bad,” said Lisotta, who lives in Louisiana. “From what I saw, it (the hurricane) stopped, and then it just veered right towards us, so I think we got the brunt of it actually.”

Lisotta lives in Jefferson Parrish.

Since Saturday, he’s been staying at Baymont Inn & suites in Jackson.

When he left his home, he admits he never imagined staying in Mississippi for this long.

“I was thinking a day, then we will go back in there would be little damage, the lights would be on in a few days, but it doesn’t look that way,” said Lisotta.

But Lisotta isn’t alone.

On Tuesday, John Victory and his family checked into their second hotel in three days.

“Last year, we evacuated three times,” Victory said explained. “We had six storms last year down there, now we’ve got another one this year, so it’s just frustrating the amount of storms that are hitting Louisiana.”

Dozens of the evacuees, including Victory, are staying at the Holliday Inn Express & Suites in Pearl until they can go back home.

Many are still not sure when that will be.

“I have guests that are going home to check on their property, but they are also coming back, so they did and checked out their room, said Latoya Williams, General Manager of the Holliday Inn Express & Suites in Pearl. “They are just going to check to see if they can get down to their house and check and see what the extent of the damage.”

“It’s devastating, but I mean, you just have to make the best of it and do the best you can,” Lisotta expressed. “I’ve got kids I have to worry about, so I’m just trying to keep a happy face and play it by ear.”

Williams said the hotel has been sold out of rooms since the Friday night before the storm.

Of the hotel’s 80 guests, the general manager said roughly 60 people have extended their stay until September 17th.

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