Evacuees transition as Celtic Studios shelter prepares to close - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Evacuees transition as Celtic Studios shelter prepares to close

Source: WAFB Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB Source: WAFB

Celtic Studios, the last shelter in the Baton Rouge area being operated by the American Red Cross, is preparing to close its doors Wednesday, October 5. 

Linda Wall is one of the many people who has been calling the facility home since the flood, but she is coming down to her last few days in the shelter. 

"I've been here since the 14th of August, which happened to be my granddaughter's birthday," Wall said. "I can't wait to get into my own place really, but I'm going to miss so many people."

It is the people, the countless volunteers, that she said has made life as an evacuee surprisingly comfortable.

"You just wouldn't believe. They're all good," she added. "They're kind, their eyes sparkle when they can help, and if they can't help you, they find someone who can."

The 74-year-old great grandmother said volunteers have been willing to go to great lengths to keep her safe, even nursing her back to health during a battle with pneumonia last month.

"They brought me extra water, cough drops when I needed it, and cough syrup in the middle of the night when I started hacking. I mean, everything hurt and really I almost died and they saved my life," Wall said.

Volunteers are now saving Wall's life again by helping her transition into an apartment until her home is repaired. Celtic plans to close on October 5, and so far the number of people still living there has dropped dramatically.

At the height of the flood, the shelter was home to about 400 people. Last week that number dropped to roughly 250, and on Saturday, October 1, only 114 people are still without a place to go.

"We're really excited that people are able to find that next step in their recovery," said Red Cross spokeswoman Tammie Pech. "We're working very closely with our partners trying to make sure that everybody is being met with and everybody has that next step available to them."

While Wall's journey is in many ways just beginning, after surviving the flood, Wall said she is now ready for whatever is next.

"We somehow get that strength. We're adaptable and people adapt to us. I'm very blessed and I'm determined to keep going," Wall said.

Red Cross said they are on track to meet their October 5 goal of closing the shelter. Caseworkers are currently working to find housing options for those remaining evacuees.

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