September 2nd, 2008
03:22 PM ET

At Gustav shelter: 'We almost had a riot here last night.'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/art.vert.shelter.jpg caption="The View from inside the Coliseum shelter in Alexandira, Louisiana." width=292 height=320]

Christine Romans | BIO
CNN Correspondent

The people who endured long bus rides to shelters far from home to escape Gustav are ready to go home.

But now they have to wait, and the patience is wearing thin. So is the food and the plumbing.

In Alexandria, Louisiana, local Red Cross volunteer Herb Boykin left the Coliseum shelter last night only to be called back to calm the evacuees.

'We almost had a riot here last night.'

The power failed, the plumbing backed up, and evacuees complained that the shelter was hot, wet and unsanitary. People on oxygen had to be evacuated to a hospital and several more had panic attacks.

Now, the waiting continues. Buses are idle in hotel parking lots. The drivers are waiting for word on when they can pick up the shelter residents and get them back to their parishes.

State officials say they have to clear roads and check bridges, then each parish must lift its evacuation order before the logistics of the trip home can begin.

That news not met with much happiness by some of the 1,076 people in the shelter in the Coliseum here. It is hot and damp. The toilets are backed up. And wherever we took our camera, a crowd of people followed asking what we knew about their parishes and when they could go home.

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Filed under: Christine Romans • Hurricane Gustav • Hurricanes
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. K.D

    I cannot believe that people are actually wanted to start rioting. You people are so lucky that there were enough resources to get everybody out of there. There is a post on here where someone is complaining they don't have enough money. Guess folks, there might be another evacuation again. There are a stream of storms coming. I praise Nagin and Jindal for the effective job they did, Granted it might not be the best living conditions for most. However YOUR LIFE IS SPARED!!!,

    September 3, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  2. Katie

    I agree, i would be complaining too as far as the plumbing and food issue goes. One thing i'm not enjoying listening to is the complaining from people who evacuated, and then Gustav wasn't as strong as predicted. First of all, if they wouldn't have had a mandatory evacuation and people stayed and then Gustav was as bad as it was supposed to be...people would be complaining..it'd be Katrina all over again. I think people should be considerate and thankful to the fact that Louisiana did what it could to help you guys according to the predictions of Gustav. No one KNOWS what it was going to do, we only had predictions...but look at how many people were safe. To those complaining, next time...don't leave...and if your house is completely damaged, family is missing, neighbors drowned, and if you don't make it...i don't want to hear complaining!! Geez...can't people just be happy with the efforts that were taken to keep everyone safe!?

    September 3, 2008 at 5:56 am |
  3. Autumn clark

    Plainly, much more planning went into evacuation but not into sustaining evacuees. Illness should be a great concern under these poor conditions. Wonderful evacuation. Terrible conditions for the evacuees to be subjected.

    September 3, 2008 at 12:51 am |
  4. Star

    This is sick.. This just goes to show that if you aren't rich, know someone who is rich, or of high importance to the "important people", you will be treated like rats in this country (notice I didn't say dogs because stray dogs get better treatment than poor people in this country). That is why Republicans, and the richest people in America want McCain to win because they prefer things to remain the way they are, Upper-class and Lower-class. They want things to go back to the World War I an II era where middle-class didn't exist and if you had money you benefited from the miseries of the poor. Bush made a lot of rich people very rich these past 8 years and a lot of people in the middle class are now poor or just above being poor. Hence, these people want to keep it that way. They fear Obama getting in because he will restore the middle-class and pretty much even things out. This could cause a lot of them to lose money and of course we cannot have that, which is why they are trying their best to destroy his image and critique is views to make him look bad. But the Republicans can screw up a thousand times and its ok. But getting back to this, the shelters could have done better with housing these people, its a shame that inmates in prison get better treatment than these people are receiving. They get three meals a day, warm beds, climate controlled rooms, and some who commit federal crimes get to watch television, play video games, and eat what ever they want. This is the country we are supposed to be proud of. I HATE THIS COUNTRY!!! I wish I can just pick up and leave tomorrow!

    September 3, 2008 at 12:07 am |
  5. Annie Kate

    Sounds really disgusting. I'd be upset too. I hope the parishes are prompt with their inspections and wave the all clear sign quickly. I'd much rather be at home than someplace with 1700 other people and no clean toilet facilities that work!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 2, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  6. dottir jackson

    I am an african american and truly struggling in this economy and I do not receive any type of goverment handout in this RNC where am I could you please mention not me but those just like me, maybe on DAY 2

    September 2, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  7. Heather

    It reminds me of when the water main broke in the gated community where I live. Im in my kitchen and all of a sudden no water at all. No flushing of toilets ,washing dishes,hands,brushing of teeth,showers,cleaning of food.It's disgusting in every way. Its a health issue. It's one thind to plan on roughing it on a camping trip. You have bought everything you need you are prepared. It's another to be evacuated to a shelter to be safe from a natural disaster only to find that they who ever planned this didnt consider certain vital things like food,plumbing and all that. It looks and sounds disgusting and they have every right to complain.

    September 2, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  8. Chip

    Ah yes, judgement of political candidates. Interesting how the comparision is now between Sarah and Barack, rather than John and Barack!

    Speaking of judgement. with all the education and resources the past three decades about the effects of cigarette smoking, what does it tell us about someone's judgement who subjects their children to second-hand smoke, or who has been smoking cigarettes for years? Shame, shame Barack!

    Is that poor judgement or lack of discipline? Or both?

    September 2, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  9. Raynould jones

    What we suppose to do about food the money we have is almost gone
    we can,t get no emerc help so they should do sometime.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  10. stef

    Is 'almost a riot' different than 'there was no riot'?

    September 2, 2008 at 3:40 pm |

    I am stuck out of town too and ready to get home. But I have to commend the city, state and local officials. This evacuation was so smooth, yes it took me 10 hours to go 300 miles. But Bobby Jindal gave us updates days out and still around the clock updates. Ray Nagin even did a pretty good job. This time the city of N.O. had plans and those plans worked. I was so glad not see people on roofs or at the dome or convention center. Hats off to our Governement Leaders, 1st responders, all the troops from around the country and all the healthcare workers that stay ed back home. Thank you, great job. Oh, how can I forget our wonderful CNN reporters. Thank you for to the up to minute news and Anderson Cooper all of N.O. loves you, we cannot wait for your next book.


    September 2, 2008 at 3:38 pm |