Austin Hotels Offering Free Rooms for Hurricane Ida Evacuees

by Jennifer Shea
Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

An Austin, Texas hotel group had free rooms for Hurricane Ida evacuees through today. And the evacuees apparently took Bunkhouse Hotels up on its offer, filling all 100 rooms available at six of its hotel locations over the past few days.

By Monday, according to Fox News, Bunkhouse Hotels had filled all of the rooms available for evacuees at the Austin Motel, the Hotel San Jose, the Hotel Magdalena, the Carpenter Hotel, the Hotel Havana in San Antonio and the Stagecoach Inn in Salado.

“Our hearts are with our friends in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama,” Bunkhouse had posted to Facebook on Aug. 28. “If you are an evacuee of Hurricane Ida, we have a room for you starting tomorrow through Wednesday — free of charge.”

What’s more, Bunkhouse is teaming up with the Louisiana nonprofit Tankproof to gather essential supplies for hurricane survivors. Items sought by their drive include toiletries and personal hygiene supplies, socks, blankets, baby supplies, non-perishable food items and first aid supplies.

Texas Opens Its Doors to Hurricane Ida Evacuees

The Bunkhouse crew are not the only Texans opening their doors to Hurricane Ida evacuees. They’re also not alone in gathering supplies to help out amid the hurricane’s aftermath.

Houston philanthropist Jim McIngvale, known as Mattress Mack for his furniture store, has converted his Houston shop into a shelter for anyone with a Louisiana state ID. McIngvale is also launching a collection drive to help recovery efforts, according to Southern Living. Moreover, he has set up a GoFundMe for Hurricane Ida relief.

“We did it during Katrina. And, you know, people need a place to stay. They’ve been disrupted from their homes by this terrible hurricane. So it’s the least we can do. We’ve got lots of mattresses, lots of sofas, and anybody needs a place to stay, come out to Gallery Furniture,” McIngvale told KPRC 2. “It’s just the right thing to do.”

This Monday, volunteers showed up at McIngvale’s store, Gallery Furniture, to help load up trucks with relief supplies. Among them were two college students who had evacuated from Houma, Louisiana and have family who stayed behind there, sending them videos of the wreckage.

“Houma got messed up,” Aidan Labat told ABC 13. “A lot of businesses messed up. A lot of people lost their [homes] and stuff. Everything got messed up really.”

Many Louisiana Families Fled the State As the Hurricane Approached

As Hurricane Ida bore down on the Gulf Coast, many Louisianans fled to Texas. On the eve of Ida’s landfall, Interstate 10 connecting Louisiana with Texas looked like a parking lot, Fox 26 Houston reported, with desperate evacuees sitting in traffic for hours.

“It took us 11 and-a-half hours to get here today,” Tara Bordelon told Fox 26. “We left at 5 this morning and we just got here.”

Bordelon lives south of New Orleans, near where Ida was projected to make landfall. She said they learned their lesson after Hurricane Katrina.

“A lot of our family lost their house in Katrina,” Bordelon said. “It’s the 16th anniversary of that. One thing at a time. Hopefully everything is there when we get back.”

Hundreds of thousands of homes sustained damage in the hurricane. And power is still out throughout most of New Orleans. For many Louisianans, it looks like it’s not time to return from Texas quite yet.