I-55 south closed to traffic for evacuees fleeing Louisiana

Brookhaven - Early Saturday morning Gov. Haley Barbour issued a contraflow to take place on Interstate 55, closing off all south bound lanes, to help Louisiana residents evacuate from Hurricane Katirna.

The contraflow took effect at 4 p.m. Saturday and will last until 4 p.m. today. All lanes will travel northbound up to mile marker 31, which is south of Highway 84 in Brookhaven. It will merge back to two lanes just north of Bogue Chitto. Interstate 59 is also part of the contraflow.

American Red Cross officials began to open shelters Saturday in Mississippi that are north of Interstate 20. As shelters open, they will be posted on MEMA's Web site at www.msema.org. Travelers through Brookhaven can access the Internet at the Brookhaven Public Library on South Jackson Street.

The National American Red Cross is encouraging travelers to develop a communications plan with relatives prior to their departure should they need to be located during or after the hurricane.

"Typically the phone lines became jammed afterwards with people calling to get in touch with relatives," said Renita Hosler, a spokesperson for the national American Red Cross.

In preparing for the hurricane, Entergy is implementing its emergency restoration plan, which will build a workforce of 1,500 restoration line workers in Mississippi. Entergy cancelled all employee vacations to ensure resources are available.

"We have been tracking Katrina for several days," said Kenney Goza, customer account and service manager in Brookhaven. "Our customers can be assured that we are doing all we can to ensure we are prepared for this storm."

Published: August 28, 2005