Plaquemines Parish evacuees take refuge at a Belle Chase shelter - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Plaquemines Parish evacuees take refuge at a Belle Chase shelter

Belle Chase, La.- A dusk to dawn curfew was in effect in Plaquemines Parish for residents on the east bank on Saturday, along with a voluntary evacuation.

A shelter was set up in Belle Chase as a last resort for those evacuating.

Most of the people that were at the shelter said they knew each other, their kids go to school together on the east bank, and they live in the coastal neighborhoods that are more susceptible to high winds and storm surges.

"A majority of them are from the area of the parish where I'm from, the east bank," said Gina Meyer, the EMS Superintendent for Plaquemines Parish. "It's a lot of the older crowd and their children and their grandchildren that come with them. So you have family units that have come. They've been a wonderful crowd to deal with. Very grateful for what's been done for them here."

Dana Etienne and her three children are staying at the shelter. Etienne says she'd rather evacuate every storm than sit and worry in her east bank home.

"I don't know my eyes would have been closed. It's too scary I'm scared of the weather," said Etienne. "There probably would have been high winds, and no telling with them levees down there, so we just wasn't taking no chances."

She says without the opportunity for a safe and clean place with cots, snacks, drinks and restrooms, the cost of evacuating her whole family would have made her consider staying through the expected storm surge and tropical force winds.

"People don't have no money to evacuate really. We don't have no money to get hotel rooms, the money you do have that's the last thing you want to spend it on: a hotel room. So this is the best place, the safest place," said Etienne.

It is her son Donovan's first time in a shelter, and he says he feels safe there.

"It gets loud at night but after a while it quiets down," he said.

Meyer said many of the people staying at the shelter don't have vehicles. They were picked up by Community Action Agency vans, which are run by the parish. They'll be dropped off at home again when the threat is over.

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