New Orleans evacuees in Memphis fear they will run out of money before they can return home


MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A family of six who came to Memphis to seek refuge from Ida says they are quickly running out of money.

Bill Toujouse lives just outside New Orleans. He and his wife, adult son, and son’s family decided to evacuate before Ida made landfall Sunday.

“It was highly suggested that we evacuate. We got here Saturday,” Toujouse said. “We are senior citizens, and my wife has dementia.”

Toujouse thought he would only be in Memphis a couple of days, but said there is no way they can go home right now.

“Come to find out from the parish president that electricity is out and will probably be out for 21 plus days and also water may out anywhere from 5-8 days,” Toujouse said.

New Orleans Firefighters assess damage as they look through debris after a building collapsed from the effects of Hurricane Ida, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in New Orleans, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Hurricane Ida left catastrophic damage across southeastern Louisiana, leaving much of the New Orleans area without power and interrupting phone service.

Rescuers in boats, helicopters, and trucks have brought hundreds trapped by floodwaters to safety. However, no major flooding was reported inside the flood control system that protects New Orleans.

A man passes by a section of roof that was blown off of a building in the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida winds, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Toujouse said his home received some damage, but his biggest concern right now is finding a way to cover their expenses in Memphis.

“I have a friend who is paying for us to stay in another hotel until Saturday,” said Toujouse.

Toujouse said he is not sure what they will do after that. He said he hasn’t been able to reach anyone with the Red Cross and said FEMA told him it would be 7-10 before they could do anything to help.

Wendy Halsey, American Red Cross, talks with Hermaine Collins-Jordan from Baton Rouge and her family to escape Hurricane Ida. (Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross)

The Red Cross has been on the ground in Louisiana, assisting hurricane victims.

Anyone in the affected areas that needs a place to stay is urged, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767), or download the free Red Cross Emergency App for shelter locations.

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