Vicksburg shelters shuttered as last of 700 evacuees leave

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 5, 2008

Vicksburg’s last evacuees from Hurricane Gustav packed their cars to return to their homes this morning, in some cases unsure if they were habitable.

At the First Baptist Church Red Cross shelter on Cherry Street, Dennis Trosclair, 53, was planning to stop and check on his Dulac, La., mobile home and then go on to Houston, where his company has temporarily relocated. Trosclair said he’s been told that Gustav blew his home off its blocks and peeled away part of its roof.

His younger brother Albert, 41, was getting his family ready to return to the Houma, La., area where they expected to find rain and wind damage to their home.

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While they said the shelter has offered “all the comforts of home,” they were all looking forward to leaving. The shelter at FBC was the final one open Thursday night. At the height of the evacuation, seven Vicksburg-area shelters housed about 700 people.

“All our shelters are now officially closed,” said Red Cross executive director Beverly Connelly, “which is a wonderful thing.”

The Trosclairs had been at FBC since about 1 a.m. Monday.

For the first time in three days, no rainfall was recorded in Vicksburg Thursday. Over the three-plus days of the storm, Vicksburg recorded 10.75 inches of rain, more than three times the usual rainfall for the entire month of September. A clear weekend is forecast.

The heavy rains had caused erosion and clogging in a drainage ditch on North Washington Street, where runoff washed out a telephone pole and damaged a store and home at Waltersville Road. Public works director Bubba Rainer said this morning that road crews were continuing to work, clearing the drainage basin. “There’s probably some silt in the pipes under the road,” Rainer said. “We’ve got some people looking at that.”

Entergy spokesman Eddie Arnold said this morning that power had been restored to all homes in Vicksburg. During the peak of the storm, about 2,200 homes in Warren County were without power, Arnold said.