Hundreds of families travel to Arkansas from Louisiana seeking refuge

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —  More people from Louisiana continue to pour into the Natural State after escaping Hurricane Ida. Meanwhile, others have been here for almost a week now.

Thursday the City of Little Rock said they had about 2,500 calls from people here in town looking for help after leaving their homes ahead of the storm and there are still more people calling.  

“This was worse than Katrina,” Krystal Willis said. 

Willis is still in shock after seeing what’s left behind following Hurricane Ida.

“I have nothing to go back home to and now we even scuffling, we out here with nothing but all we came with,” Willis said. 

Willis is from Gretna, Louisiana which is about 6 miles outside of New Orleans. Now her temporary home is at a Little Rock hotel, thanks to a voucher from the city of Little Rock.

“We’re thankful that they are helping us with these three free nights,” Willis said, “But where do we go from here?”

The city said it has $47,000 dollars to use for hotel vouchers. So far more than 600 people have room vouchers in town and more are waiting. Thursday morning they said they had several more people they are working to help.

Meanwhile, another family we spoke to said they haven’t had much help here in Arkansas. 

“We managed to find a motel 6, cheapest thing they could find,” Kayla Acosta said. 

Acosta and her family left Louisiana to get to safety, but now after being in Arkansas for several days they’ve run out of money.

She said they tried calling several different organizations for help but never heard back.

“We’re getting a generator here, we’re going to get it on our car,” Acosta said. “And we’re going to be heading down there. So, long drive.”

Emotions are high as all evacuees try to figure out what’s next and also worry about their family, friends and homes that were left behind.

“It’s just been stressful,” Willis said. 

Willis said she is still trying to find more money to afford food and medicine for her family including three grandchildren. As for the hotel stays, the voucher is good for three days but the city says it could be extended on a case by case basis. 

The Arkansas Food Bank also helping with meals for those who need them. Further food assistance can be obtained by calling 501-410-6999.

If you need help you can still contact them for references but the voucher program has reached its capacity.

In addition to housing, the Arkansas Food Bank contributed 75 emergency food kits, which they said will each feed two people for a day. Approximately 15 kits were distributed on Wednesday; the remainder are being given out Thursday and Friday, along with water. Further food assistance can be obtained by calling 501-410-6999.

The American Red Cross Greater Arkansas Chapter, located in Little Rock, provided fuel cards for evacuees needing assistance.

 In addition to the city’s support, other relief organizations include:

  • To register with FEMA, go online HERE. Persons with a smartphone can download the FEMA app at https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app. and register.
  • Registration by telephone also is available by calling 800-621-3362. For TTY call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) also can call 800-621-3362 \
  • Emergency Information from Red Cross: Mobile Apps and Voice-Enabled Skills and Actions | American Red Cross
  • Impacted Areas: Those looking for an evacuation shelter are encouraged to call 2-1-1 or text ‘LAShelter’ to 898-211. Additional information and safety tips are available at RedCross.org, 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App from any app store.

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