Evacuees Out, Fans In at Some Hotels

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The lines are long at the Red Cross. For those evacuees in hotels, their time may be short. And why? The Aggie fans are coming, for the game and for hotels.

"Right now, it's a tragedy," said DeMarcus Sam of the current evacuation situation. "I just can't understand, I don't see that a football game is more important than a person's life."

Sam and his more than three-dozen family members fled Beaumont to B/CS. Now, they don't appear to have a place to stay for the weekend.

"We just want to be housed until we're able to go back home," said Ebony Lindsey. "I'm sure they don't want us here anymore than we want to be here, but we're here, so now we need that help."

But individuals and companies begin booking rooms at area hotels and motels in excess of a year in advance for Aggie games. Out of 17 area hotels we contacted, seven said evacuees would have to relinquish their rooms, including the Holiday Inn Express, whose manager is sympathetic to evacuees.

However, "it's kind of a binding contract," said Ron Tocci, general manager at the Holiday Inn. "As the people come in to the hotel and they're trying to get a room with us, we have to advise them that we're limited to the number of nights we'll be able to accommodate them."

"This is one of those things where it's the first time we've ever been through it," said Ron Fulton, president of the Brazos Valley Lodging Association, "and everybody's kind of struggling with what should I do, what can I do."

What one hotel did, according to one evacuee, was a vote of confidence in their favor. "There was a girl at the counter this morning that took my ID that said she didn't mind telling these football people that they couldn't come in here and stay," said Darwin Brown.

Others aren't so lucky. "We don't have anywhere to go," said Lindsey. "Nothing. No where."

"We have a 104-year-old lady that's with us," said Sam. "She can't take anymore."

If Kyle Field is packed, so too are hotels. Those packing them now won't all be packing them come Saturday.

Some hotels are reporting cancellations from fans coming from out of town. If you're an evacuee losing your current room, the lodging committee encourages you to check with other hotels in the area.