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John Daley ReportingThe hundreds of evacuees who came to Utah are busy making the transition to whatever will come next in their lives. Many have returned to Louisiana or neighboring states, many are staying here. Some of them this afternoon are expected at the State Fair where there's a creative sort of fundraiser for the evacuees happening today.
First let us tell you about the evacuees. Of the original 583, at last count there were 273 still here in Utah; the rest have left. What are the plans of those who remain? Many, like Ralph Parker, are still focusing on finding loved ones while lining up work and a place to stay.
Parker is an artist who says he lost his paintings and everything else in the storm, and still can't locate his fiance Gwendolyn Minor or daughter Lakira Parker. He says he survived brutal conditions in the Superdome for the better part of a week, then he was with the group who came here. Now he's planning to move to Vernal where he was offered a job with an oil and gas company.
Ralph Parker, Hurricane Evacuee: "I'm thinking about staying here for a while. I've been offered jobs. People have been overwhelming. And tomorrow I think I'm going to see about housing, a place to stay."
Doug McCleve, Utah Dept. of Public Safety: "Some of them have lost everything they ever had in their lifetime. So what we're trying to do is help them get restarted in their lives, whether that's here in Utah or anywhere else. We want to help them get where they want to go."
Also today, a local pawn shop donated a number of musical instruments for the evacuees who are musicians. The target date from FEMA for evacuees to make other plans is October 1st.
At the Fairpark there's a Karaoke singing fundraiser. It's a dollar per song and all the money goes to helping the evacuees.