Conditions Worsen for Utahns Stranded at Hotel

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The water was getting closer and supplies were limited for five Utahns stranded at a hotel in New Orleans, according to the daughter of two of them.

Angie Conley of Roy said the J.W. Marriott Hotel was just a block from where a levee broke Tuesday morning.

As of when she last spoke to parents Tuesday afternoon, the hotel had not flooded but flood waters were creeping closer and the National Guard had been called to the area to prevent looting.

Conley's parents, Von and RaNae Draheim; Paul J. Hansen of Kaysville; Debbie Marigoni of Hooper; and Terry North of Salt Lake City were in New Orleans for an emergency medical services conference. The five, most of whom are paramedics, were to have left New Orleans on Saturday, but their flight was canceled.

Conley said that because suppliers can't reach the hotel, the hotel staff is beginning to limit guests to one bottle of water and one meal per day.

Another Utahn affected was Michelle Elizabeth Jarvis, 21, a student at the University of New Orleans. She fled New Orleans for Texas on Sunday with little more than the clothes on her back and has no idea when she can return.

She said her home was near the 17th Street Canal that news reports said has been breached. She hasn't seen her home specifically on TV, but helicopter shots of the neighborhood show homes up to their eaves in water.

She was staying at the home of her fiance's family near New Orleans when the evacuation order came Saturday, she said.

"We were told to get out of town the night before, and we waited, we were going to leave in the middle of the night, and we waited till the morning (Sunday)" she said.

"We all popped out of bed, loaded what we could and got out."

It took six hours in two cars to get out of the New Orleans area, and another 14 hours to get to Katy, Texas, near Houston, where her fiance has family, she said.

Harrisville Mayor Fred Oates and his wife, Karen, also are in New Orleans, and neither city officials nor family members have been able get hold of them since Katrina hit early Monday.

Court Clerk Jackie Van Meeteren said Oates was at one of two Marriott Hotels in downtown New Orleans.

He and his wife to New Orleans Friday for a conference on Community Action. When the hurricane took aim at New Orleans, the conference was canceled along with flights out.

"His daughter called the Marriott and couldn't get him, but she was told everyone was in the ballroom with food water and flashlights and everyone was OK, but that's all we know," Van Meeteren said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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