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Hurricane Katrina And Southern Inhospitality?

UPDATE: September 5, 4:01 pm CST

We have at least one confirmation of this story I posted yesterday. Taken from the comments section:

# a mom Says:
September 5th, 2005 at 10:02 am e

My daughter evacuated to that hotel for a couple of days. She called me and told me some things very similar. She did have pets with her and was treated in a similar manner. The last time I heard from her, she, too, was leaving without getting a refund for the extra days that she had paid for. I do not know where she went, or where she is now. I wish I did know. I am very worried. She had very little money left, but said she might try to go back home to Nicholson, Mississippi. What awaits her there, I don’t know either. She was in tears and uncertain what to expect. I told her that I would call the hotel and try to straighten the whole mess out for her, but she said she feared it would just make matters worse. I don’t know about other evacuees, but I can tell you if the hotel did treat my daughter in such a manner, I will get to the bottom of it, if I have to go there myself.

————————
I just received this email from Duncan Riley. It was sent to him by somebody who heard about Ramada employees in Marietta, Georgia mistreating evacuees.

Now, I reprint the email here only to try and confirm it. I lay no claim to whether these things happen or didn’t, although the details this person shares makes me feel that there has to be at least something to this story. But that’s just a gut instinct.

In any event, if you know anything about this please leave a comment and tell your story.

I want to pass something on that I heard from several people.

The Ramada Suite, Franklin Street/Road, Marietta, Ga. must have some serious compassion issues.

Several families from the gulf of Mississippi evacuated to that location, not being able to find open rooms any where else along the way.

Some of those evacuees had pets with them, some did not.

The evacuees, in most cases, had no money (or very little) which they used for gas and were forced to contact friends or family to ask for money to be wired to them, or asked if they could help pay for their hotel rooms via a credit card so they could have a place to rest. Several of them had not had food for a couple of days and were relieved to be able to get food and water and a place to lay their heads. Mind you, these people have nothing to go back to, they have lost everything except what they could throw in their cars and run with.

The management staff at the above mentioned hotel were happy enough to take their money, or a credit card called in…but….when it came down to it, they treated these people like dirt. The ones with pets were harassed and ordered (after checking in and sleeping for a night) to dish out more money than originally quoted for their pets. Several of the evacuees had paid in advance for several nights, so they could rest and wait for word on possible return to their home areas but the management told them to either give them more money, or they would be thrown out of the hotel. When told that they did not have any more money, they were told “you call somebody to send you some or you leave.” When some of the evacuees decided to leave and try to find another hotel after witnessing this and requested the management to return their money that was paid in advance for several more days, the management refused.

They were heard to say, “No, we return no money, we keep it, if you don’t pay more, we throw you out. You leave, we keep all the money.” Then harassment began by constantly walking by the rooms of the evacuees to let them know that the management was watching them. The management even attempted to enter rooms, possibly to put their few belongings out in the street, when they thought the evacuees were not present, but they were caught. Some of the evacuees just decided to leave and forfeit their money because they were made to feel so unwelcome, harassed and disrespected so badly. Who knows where they went or what they did after they left without any money for food or gas because management would not return their prepaid funds.

Now I ask you, whats wrong with this picture?

Where is the compassion? Where are the acts of kindness from the hotel and management to these evacuees that have nothing left? They escaped with their lives, only to be harassed by a company that cares about nothing but making money.

I just thought someone should know what is going on there.

Maybe someone can check into this unacceptable treatment.

Please share, link and let’s get to the bottom of this. If Ramada really did treat evacuees like this, I believe they should be held accountable.

But remember, this story is UNCONFIRMED until we hear from a few others who experienced this first hand.

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  • a mom

    My daughter evacuated to that hotel for a couple of days. She called me and told me some things very similar. She did have pets with her and was treated in a similar manner. The last time I heard from her, she, too, was leaving without getting a refund for the extra days that she had paid for. I do not know where she went, or where she is now. I wish I did know. I am very worried. She had very little money left, but said she might try to go back home to Nicholson, Mississippi. What awaits her there, I don’t know either. She was in tears and uncertain what to expect. I told her that I would call the hotel and try to straighten the whole mess out for her, but she said she feared it would just make matters worse. I don’t know about other evacuees, but I can tell you if the hotel did treat my daughter in such a manner, I will get to the bottom of it, if I have to go there myself.

  • a mom

    http://www.hotelsuperportal.com/Reviews-99013.html

    It seems the hotel has a bit of a reputaion already.

  • http://www.thex.com/rd/ the english guy

    A friend of mine from Texas blogged about a hotel raising their prices from $79/night to $200/night when refugees began to appear in their town.

    She also blogged about the refugees in the local shelters/centers (which are being closed in favor of larger shelters), and what the emergency personnel are currently doing for them. It seems that Texan civilians (not hotel owners/staff though) are compassionate, generous, and giving. Many are volunteering their time, scouring cupboards and wardrobes for clothing and goods that many of these refugees lost or left behind.

  • http://www.ablogistan.com Elyas Bakhtiari

    How about this one:

    In Tallahassee, hotels kicked “refugees” out of their rooms in order to make room for people coming to watch the FSU versus Miami football game.

    ”We have to let them know what’s going on in town and they’re going to have to leave,” said Angie Rayman, manager at the Howard Johnson. “Many of them are trying to get closer to home anyway.”

  • http://morningsun.blog-city.com/ MorningSun

    Keep in mind, many hotels aren’t owned by southerners. More and more I see people who’s first language isn’t english and their culture isn’t the same as ours.( judging from the way the refusal was written in this article )

    My husband and myself came across this recently when trying to contact a friend. We too had everything we owned in a car.

    This person even went so far as to tell our partner that we checked out. When we hadn’t. He refused to connect our calls with one another. This was our new job/partnership. Was by luck, grace or whatever you wish to call it we found our partner and all was well. ( People are alot more resourceful than we give ourselves credit for. )

    Yet there are rare instances everywhere that those who depend on the tourist trade and one time through travelers really do prey upon those least able to tell them to shove it no matter where they are from.

    Many times this can be handled by calling the corperate headquarters. Although it is an independent establishment, they can loose their franchising over such actions.

  • DD

    I would like to respond to this because I talked with 2 of 3 young ladies that also got treated that way at that hotel. They were refugees also. They called several friends and told them about this.They combined together to get one room because it would be cheaper.They paid in advance for a week and for their pets. Later that day, after they had checked in, they were harrassed for extra money and when they had given all the money they had, the manager still asked for more. When they could not get any more, they were watched every time one of them left the room and told “You are lucky if we let you stay here.” The manager used the excuse that he needed more money for the pets,even though they had paid what they were told.They asked for a refund so they could go to another hotel but were refused a refund of their unused nights. They were told, NO refund, NO refund! we keep all the money! Eventually the young ladies left because they were treated so badly and they were not given a refund for the nights they did not stay. They also said that the beds in the room were filled with biting mites and bugs. They left with no money, and no where to go but back to the Gulf coast . God Bless Them. I think this is outragous and the hotel should be dealt with.

  • http://vernondent.blogspot.com/ Callimachus

    A minor point relating to the post title, and somewhat addressed already by Morningsun. Modern Marietta isn’t truly “Southern” in the old-school sense. It’s very much in the “New South,” which is to say it’s the same as modernized American culture everywhere: affluent suburban bedroom community populated by people who have come there for high-paying jobs from all over the nation.

    I actually like Marietta. I usually stop there for a meal or a night’s rest when driving South. But there’s a definite feeling of recognition when I arrive in town. Coming down from the mountains, a Northern suburban guy like me feels he’s in a different cultural environment. I’m “somewhere else.” South of Atlanta, where the pine forests start, I’m again “somewhere else.” [When Atlanta was seeking a city motto, someone waggishly proposed “Mountains to the north; mullets to the south.”] But when I arrive in Marietta, I’m home again.

  • MidnightLady

    Did I misunderstand? It almost seems as if someone is
    defending the actions because the Ramada in question is owned by ppl
    from another country, that do not understand our culture?
    I wonder, does that give them the right to treat ppl badly?
    If you are here, running a business in America, watching an American crisis, calling America home,
    shouldn’t there be some form of compassion and decency?

    Hey, maybe I am just old-fashioned, and not “with it” by the standards of the “new modern cultural America”, the culture that makes this treatment okay.

    If I am, I prefer to stay old-fashioned, because I can not accept this type of behavior.

    So , count me as an old fashioned, big hearted, kind ol’
    southern gal, and save me from the “modern culture” that thinks this
    treatment IS acceptable.

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