Hotels try to keep up with cancelations, bookings - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hotels try to keep up with cancelations, bookings

September 13, 2004

Albany-- Many are going back to the Sunshine State, but some who dodged the past two hurricanes maybe on their way here. Evacuees are turning in keys for other families in need.

On Friday, all most hotels in Albany were booked, now some Floridians are checking out, but that's not the end of the cycle. Hotel keys are getting put in hands of a new set of evacuees.

Florida families saying good bye to south Georgia. "We're going down 75, we're going down 19," said Evacuee Barb Deubel.

Going to a town ripped apart by Hurricane Charley. "We're going home, will you tell them we're going home. We're going home to see Daddy," Barb says to her kids. Daddy, a police officer, had work to do at home in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Hurricane Ivan urged these wives to hit the road. "When Ivan started coming we decided we had enough and we got a room up here to get away." Eight hours away in Albany.

"It was three adults and three babies in one room, but... " As this family checks out, "We've opened up at least 25 to 30 rooms since this weekend has passed," said Best Western's Luciana Jones. "And you're calling from Panama City?"

Florida panhandle evacuees are moving in. "It's very stressful, and financially it's been a burden, but you make do with what you have to, " says Barb.

Not to mention the emotional burden too. Far away from Ivan and home, but even a sprinkle seems scary to these small kids. "Now, we'll go home and keep on picking up the pieces and try to put our town back together."

They are going home and hoping for the best. I was told that some of the evacuees who have stayed in Albany for so long, were crying when they left to go back home.

The Chamber of Commerce has kept in touch with hotels in Albany. Right now, there are rooms available. We were also told that even people from Thomasville have reservations here, those who live in mobile homes.

The Salvation Army has already started reserving rooms in Albany to make sure some are available for Florida panhandle evacuees.

posted at 5:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com