POSTED: Monday, August 29, 2011 - 10:27am
UPDATED: Monday, August 29, 2011 - 2:34pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — Saturday night, more than 27,000 people spent the night in Red Cross shelters along the East Coast. The Red Cross expects to help thousands of storm victims in more than a dozen states for the next several weeks. That takes thousands of disaster workers; 10 are from the Baton Rouge area.
Today, we caught up with Denham Springs resident and Red Cross volunteer Steve Landry. He spent the weekend in Maryland at a shelter housing over 700 young people, all from out of the country.
“Our job was to make them feel at home,” says Landry. “I mean its bad enough these kids are here working away from their countries and to go get stuck in a shelter with a hurricane coming. I mean, it's got to be pretty terrifying for them because they've never experienced anything like this.”
The evacuees are working temporarily in the U.S. at beach hotels on Maryland's coast and were evacuated ahead of the storm.
Landry says he got the call to respond Friday night and was in Baltimore the next day, catching the last flight into the city. Sunday that shelter was closed and residents allowed back home.
Irene isn't his first hurricane. Landry says it was almost eerie to watch Irene roll through, while remembering back six years ago, when hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.
Landry was a volunteer with the Red Cross back then too, spending 10 months in shelters helping Katrina evacuees. The storm still haunts him today. Landry says the toughest part is remembering when families stranded in the superdome, on roof tops, and all across New Orleans, finally reached his shelter in Denham Springs.
“Just seeing the agony on those little kids’ faces, and the parents… The parents were pretty hard core, but it was the kids that did most of the suffering during Katrina,” Landry remembers.
Right now, he is heading north from his post in Maryland, to other affected areas.
Landry expects to spend the next 2 - 3 weeks helping people recover from hurricane Irene.
To become a Red Cross volunteer, or make a donation to the disaster relief fund, go to www.redcross.org .
You can make a $10.00 contribution by texting the word 'redcross' to 90999.
Click here  to view a photo gallery of images from the weekend recovery effort.