South Georgia hotels still flooded with evacuees - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia hotels still flooded with evacuees

September 26, 2005

Albany--Several weeks ago, South Georgia motels were flooded with hurricane evacuees. Now weeks after Hurricane Katrina, it's still difficult to find an overnight room.

With only five vacancies, business at the Suburban Lodge shows no sign of slowing down, especially when it comes to housing evacuees.

 "We've got a couple here, a couple there. We got another big family in," says hotel general manager Rebecca Cummins.

Cummins says evacuees fill about a fourth of its rooms. Thomas Patton is one of those evacuees. "Everybody here in Albany has been really wonderful. We've been blessed. The hotel has been here for us,"  says Patton.

While his room is small, Patton has no complaints.

"You see some people staying in shelters with hundreds of people. We feel fortunate we're not stuck in a shelter," says Patton.

 "We told them not to worry about it. We're going to take care of them," Cummins says.

The hotel is offering evacuees, like Patton, huge discounts on rooms.  They're also supplying them with much needed supplies including canned goods, toothepaste, and toothbrushes.

"They've been wonderful. I don't know what else to say. Anything we need, they've been great," says the New Orleans evacuee.

Because the hotel isn't asking evacuees like Patton to leave, Cummins says this will, in turn, impact non-evacuees looking for a place to stay.

"We have a homecoming coming up soon. We're not going to be able to accomodate what we were going to be," Cummins says.

The hotel will have to turn many people away even those who already have reservations.

"The people that have reservations coming in might not be able to get in just because we're not kicking anybody out,"  she also adds.

And for that, Patton is grateful because at least for now he has a place to call home.

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