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BATON ROUGE, La. - This morning, the Jewella shelter in Shreveport opened to begin taking in Texas survivors of Harvey. The shelter is staffed by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
"We are grateful that the worst-case scenario forecasted for our state did not play out, leaving us with the capacity to take care of both Louisianans and our neighbors to the West who were affected by this storm," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "My commitment is that we will do everything within our ability to provide the very best care possible and give those who are in our shelters the true Louisiana hospitality we are known for around the world."
The state's Alexandria and Shreveport mega-shelters are designated as Critical Transportation Needs shelters. They are pre-set and put on standby in the event of a major disaster to serve people with no transportation of their own who are taken to the shelter by bus or rescue vehicle. They are not drive-up or walk-in shelters.
Southwest and Central Louisiana residents impacted by the storm are being served by parish-run and Red Cross shelters.
There were 1,117 people in the Alexandria mega-shelter overnight Thursday. Since then, the mega-shelter has reached its capacity of 2,000.
"Our shelter team in Shreveport has been making preparations since last week, setting up 2,400 cots and lining up other services at the Jewella shelter," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. "We were reminded as we visited the Alexandria mega-shelter yesterday that DCFS staff is uniquely qualified to serve people when they are their most vulnerable, and disasters are at the top of that list. I couldn't be prouder of our staff."