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Families find shelter at the Raising Canes River Center after Hurricane Ida

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BATON ROUGE- The Raising Cane's River Center has been designated a regional shelter for victims impacted by Hurricane Ida in other parishes.

Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller released a statement Thursday telling residents that those who can arrange transportation to Baton Rouge should relocate to the River Center.

"This shelter will offer much more than our existing sites can offer," Miller said in the statement.

Daquarious Jones and his 3-year-old son checked into the shelter Thursday. They were greeted with a warm welcome from Red Cross volunteers who aimed to bring about a little comfort.

"I'd rather be somewhere where he can see other people, have some fun, and just be comfortable," said Jones.

The Jones family sought shelter after Hurricane Ida's winds toppled power lines. Jones and his son were left in the dark.

"I was nerved up," said Jones. "My nerves were bad when I was there."

The American Red Cross stepped in to help. More than 600 volunteers are on the ground in Louisiana, setting up emergency shelters for those in need.

"We propositioned people before Ida hit," said Patrick Hodgkins, Red Cross Chief of Staff for Disaster Response to Ida. "Many of our volunteers were here and rode out the storm. As soon as it was clear for us to get out into the communities, we got out into communities."

Hodgkins says volunteers are providing evacuees with resources such as a hot meal and a place to cool off. COVID-19 safety measures are also in place, like masking and optional testing.

"We do require masks and social distancing," said Hodgkins. "There's also rapid testing available to ensure safety for the population, so nobody should be worried about COVID-19 and not coming to a shelter."

It's an effort Jones says will bring hope to a community trying to make the best for those who have nowhere else to go.

"I hope we can come together and start to bring Baton Rouge back up again," said Jones.

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