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The city of Lafayette in South Central Louisiana also lies in the path of Hurricane Gustav, and it's one of the places that's taken in evacuees from New Orleans and the Louisiana coast.
NPR's Jeff Brady has been in Lafayette, talking with evacuees who are relieved that Gustav is not as powerful as predicted.
JEFF BRADY: Until around noon today, the wind stayed under 30 miles per hour, and while there were periods of heavy rain, Gustav wasn't causing serious problems here in Lafayette. By afternoon, the wind picked up and raindrops appeared to be falling at a 45-degree angle. The electricity went out quite a few times.
(Soundbite of wind and rain)
BRADY: Still, the storm was not strong enough to prompt families to call their children inside. At a Budget hotel near Interstate 10 in North Lafayette, families filled the rooms, and the front desk turned away others looking for a place to stay. Cheryl Moffett(ph) lives in the Gentilly Heights neighborhood in New Orleans.
Ms. CHERYL MOFFETT (New Orleans, Louisiana): We secured our home in New Orleans, and we - it's like a little caravan of us, six car (unintelligible). We all got together as a family and started heading this way. We had reservations in Liberia, but when we got there they were boarding up the hotel, so we couldn't stay.
BRADY: Moffett's caravan trekked farther north, and they felt lucky to get rooms in Lafayette. Tony Buxton(ph) is from Raceland, Louisiana. That's near where Hurricane Gustav's eye made landfall. He just remodeled his house there and is hoping for the best. Buxton had difficulty finding a hotel because none would take his pets.
Mr. TONY BUXTON: Yeah, we have two dogs and a ferret, and we couldn't leave them.
BRADY: This morning before the storm hit, Buxton was out walking the two small dogs. He says he's relieved the storm hasn't packed the power forecasters predicted, and Buxton still believes ordering residents to evacuate was a prudent move.
Mr. BUXTON: I think everybody's scared from the last one. They're just more prepared this time than the last time, you know. So many people died.
(Soundbite of dogs barking)
Mr. BUXTON: They won't bite. So many people got killed thinking that it wasn't going to be bad. I mean, I don't care if it don't even rain. I'd rather be safe than sorry.
BRADY: As the day wore on and folks here started realizing they were going to be safe, thoughts turned toward some traditions here in the heart of Cajun country. Melissa Barker(ph) is the night auditor at the hotel.
Ms. MELISSA BARKER (Hotel Employee): I mean, I heard a couple of people were cooking food around here. I heard something about crawfish etouffee, and so I'm going to go find out where that is because I definitely don't want to eat Ramen noodles.
BRADY: Lafayette authorities also were expressing relief the storm was causing less damage than predicted, but they warned residents not to let their guard down completely. The wind has taken out power lines in the region. That could mean live wires on the ground, and there's still a chance for flooding as the rain continues to fall.
Jeff Brady, NPR News, Lafayette, Louisiana.
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