Several Gulf Coast evacuees are staying in hotels in Birmingham.
The families say they came to Birmingham for different reasons. Some say they heard from Katrina evacuees that Birmingham was a good city and had lots to do. Others say that driving to Birmingham would be driving in the opposite direction of the storm.
Loading up the car in the middle of the night, Kenyatta Williams and his mother drove overnight from Slidell, Louisiana to Bessemer.
"I came because my mom, she wasn't too sure how bad the storm was going to be and she just said we need to go so we packed up and leave," said Williams.
Williams said they had wind damage from Katrina but not much flooding. Their main issue was power outages.
"This time, it's more so the electricity. Last time, we went home there were lights out. We were probably without lights for a week," said Williams.
That seemed to be the main concern for the Blanchards, too. They drove from Metairie, Louisiana Monday and they plan to stay a while.
"We couldn't stay with the baby knowing that we would probably have wide spread power outages," said Michael Blanchard.
"(We'll stay) Probably a week because it'll probably take a while for it to go all the way through. Hopefully, Friday we can go home," said Melinda Blanchard.
While the Blanchards are here, they have got to find ways to entertain little Mikey and his Elmo doll. They plan to visit some state parks and Desoto Caverns. It is nothing but time to kill since Melinda's work is closed this week.
"Actually I was supposed to work yesterday, but I did not because I was not going to go through this like I did with Katrina. I thought I was being wise. Some people may think I'm being stupid, but I think I was being wise," said Melinda.
Melinda Blanchard says she just found out this morning her work closed for the week. She wishes more people would evacuate, so we do not see a repeat of Hurricane Katrina.
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