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UNDATED (AP) - More Texas cities will be accepting hundreds --

and in some cases thousands -- of hurricane refugees from


Governor Rick Perry today announced Texas now has 56 shelters


Perry has ordered deployment of one-thousand Texas National

Guard troops for in-state support and security.

The governor also issued an executive order suspending state and

local hotel-motel taxes for 60 days for Louisiana hurricane


Large shelters complexes are open in Houston, San Antonio and

Dallas to accommodate about 25-thousand per city.

Perry says Corpus Christi and Austin each agreed to accept about

five-thousand hurricane evacuees.

Lubbock plans to host about one-thousand refugees, while

Amarillo is projected to have 500 evacuees, Bell County 400 and El

Paso 350.

About 35-hundred evacuee children have enrolled in Texas


Also, Texas-based airlines have begun flights to rescue

thousands of people stranded in New Orleans.

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I talked to a good friend who is a flight attendant at Continental, last night. Continental is one of many airlines participating in the airlift from New Orleans. She told me a story of her friend, who worked a flight from New Orleans to West Virginia.

The friend was called at midnight to report to IAH at 5:15 am. The plane flew to NO to pick up evacuees. No one, including the pilots, was told where the flight would go until airborne. She said the evacuees were the most grateful passengers she'd ever had. They were extremely kind and courteous to the crew.

The plane allowed pets on the flight. Since people left quickly, virtually no one had required pet carriers. They held the pets during takeoff and landing. During the flight, the pets roamed the cabin, providing some much needed comic relief. A Great Dane named Sandy, apparently became the queen of the cabin. Sandy decided she needed her own seat, and no one really wanted to tell her otherwise. Sandy sat stoicly throughout the flight, watching the goings on and gracefully accepting the constant patting of her head by passengers and crew.

Upon arrival in West Virginia, the plane pulled up to a hangar that had been converted into a shelter, with hot food, toys, clothes and a bag of sweets for each evacuee. Toilets and showers and cots were also set up. A large number of volunteers applauded as the evacuees deplaned, prompting tears all around.

No one complained about going to West Virginia.

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