Natchez Convention Center houses workers during storm

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 5, 2008

Natchez — The Natchez Convention Center has become a safe haven for some during the storm.

The upper level of the building and the Nashville room has been a staging area for the U.S. Coast Guard, normally stationed in New Orleans, Director Walter Tipton said.

“They’ve been here since before the storm,” Tipton said.

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He said between 75 and 100 people have been staying there and storing their equipment.

But since some of the evacuees have cleared out of the Country Inn and Suites, they’ve been staying in the hotel rooms, as well.

Also staying in the convention center were some Entergy linemen.

Tipton said the electricity workers have been camped out in tents but Wednesday night’s storms were too big of a threat and the lack of air conditioning was an inconvenience so the facility opened its doors to the weary workers for the night.

The sturdy building provided a good shelter for those in need and would have been used to house residents from the Natchez Senior Citizens Building if needed.

However, Tipton said there was no need and he never received a request from the director Sabrena Bartley.

The building sustained no damage during the high winds and heavy rain, however the other buildings that fall under the umbrella of the convention center’s management received minor damage, Tipton said.

Both the city auditorium and the community center suffered water damage.

“We’ve had several leaks in the roof from the damage but it wasn’t major,” he said.

In the city auditorium, Tipton said neither the seating or the stage were damaged. Some rain blew through the vents and collected on the stage.

“That doesn’t present us from having functions,” he said.

Tipton said it was enough to justify an insurance claim though.