Evacuated Families Head to the Heartland

Evacuated Families Head to the Heartland
By: CJ Cassidy

Sikeston, MO -

ens of thousands of
rleans' residents have fled their city since the
ayor ordered a mandatory evacuation.

Of those, thousands of evacuees headed North on Interstate 55, away from Katrina's expected landfall, finding a safe haven in the dozens of heartland hotels. "This was actually the only place we could get reservations and it took us about ten hours to drive here," one evacuee told Heartland News.

Miles away from where Katrina's expected to hit, New Orleans residents say they just can't tune out the feeling of an impending disaster."There are people who cannot afford to leave. I saw mothers with children in a playlot and I was thinking are those mothers going to have their children or are they going to be alive tomorrow?" Gayle Odens who left the French Quarter with her husband yesterday, wonders.

Others who fled with their children and pets, huddled close together, relieved to be out of harm's way."I was scared because I thought our house would get knocked down in the wind because the hurricane was so bad it's a category five," Nine-year-old Alexi Licata says.

It was that fear that prompted her family to hit the road early Sunday morning; even before mandatory evacuations were ordered."You don't know what to expect when you get back, or how long it'll take if there's flooding," Gail Moore, another New Orleans resident says. "I boarded up the windows, and took all the precautions they tell you to take, but I'm still worried," she adds.

"If I could have stayed and helped someone pronbably what I would have done what most people would have done but I felt I would have been a hazard and they would have been helping me," Odens explains.

Instead most evacuees say they will look to a higher power to help those that stayed behind.Hotel clerks say reservations have been piling up all weekend long. They say they're doing their best to accomodate as many people as possible.