Hurricane Ida evacuees are struggling to find hotel rooms in Acadiana

According to the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, the closest hotels with open availability are in Alexandria and Sulphur.

Posted: Sep 2, 2021 4:24 PM

LAFAYETTE, LA (KADN)- There are many evacuees in Acadiana after being displaced from their homes due to Hurricane Ida. Some evacuees are struggling to secure shelter here in Lafayette parish.

Before the hurricane was predicted to hit Louisiana, you could find hotel rooms in the area for as low as $70. That all changed when the storm was set to hit the Greater New Orleans region.

Sherie Emuse, an evacuee from Jefferson parish, has been going from hotel to hotel with her 6-year-old since Friday. Emuse has been spending an average of over $200 dollars a night for a room.

“I’m just a ball of emotions right now. It's been a mess. Definitely not what I expected,” Emuse said.

Hotel room availability across the region has been scarce as more and more people evacuate due to not having electricity and gas for their homes and vehicles.

Emuse has traveled as far as Houston for a hotel room, but due to the demand of people needing shelter, she was only able to stay there for one night.

“We're exhausted from driving, I literally couldn't keep my eyes open, so I had to pull over and we went to sleep on the side of the road literally on the side of the interstate.”

That brought her back to Louisiana to look for shelter. Her daughter attends UL Lafayette, so she thought finding a room in Acadiana would be ideal for her circumstances.

News 15’s Gabrielle Riles met her at the LaQuinta Inn in Lafayette where she was hoping to secure yet another one-night stay.

“Reservations are being canceled when you get there and you have your reservation online and have a confirmation but once you get there, they say “oh, it's overbooked, and you know it was a glitch to the system,” she said.

While there, Emuse received a phone call from a hotel room 40 minutes away stating that she would be able to book a room for the next 10 days.

Ben Berthelot, the CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, said that people started booking hotel rooms in the area at the beginning of last week and he doesn’t know when there will be open availability again.

“Majority of our hotels are booked out for the next three weeks we are able to find one room here and there, but as soon as that room becomes available is picked up by somebody else,”

Berthelot expects that more people will be coming to Lafayette parish since we didn’t experience much damage from Hurricane Ida. But, the CEO reassures hotels will do their best to meet their needs and welcome them with open arms.

“Our area has always been known for its hospitality and it's times like these where it shines through. Even more, and so we're always just so proud of our, our people for being so welcoming and so kind,” he said.

According to the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, the closest hotels with open availability are in Alexandria, LA and Sulphur, LA. They have launched a hospitality hub that shows a full list of updated hotel room availability throughout the parish.

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