FEMA to Build Hundreds of 'Trailer Towns'

The government's head of Hurricane Katrina (search) relief efforts made a surprise visit to a newly built trailer park Saturday and said hundreds of similar makeshift towns are planned to house residents displaced by the storm.

U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen (search) called the construction of the park that holds more than 570 trailers about 91 miles northwest of New Orleans (search) "pretty remarkable."

"This went from nothing to something in about five weeks," said Allen, who chatted with residents of the small trailers equipped with air conditioning, plumbing and TV antennas.

The park is laid out like a small town, with gravel roads, street lights and power lines.

Allen said about 120,000 trailers and mobile homes are expected to be delivered to Louisiana for evacuees in the coming weeks. FEMA and state officials said the optimum size of each park will be about 200 housing units, but they also may be placed on the property of residents with destroyed homes. Other people may wind up in hotels.

President Bush has said all Gulf Coast evacuees should be out of shelters by mid-October. The American Red Cross said Saturday that 23,970 Gulf Coast residents displaced by the hurricanes had stayed in shelters the night before.

Timothy Ray Leonard, of Jefferson Parish, said he was happy to move into a trailer.

"I'm glad to be out of that shelter," he said.

One elderly man who arrived at the trailer town Saturday simply dug into his pocket and pulled out the keys to his new home when asked if he had received housing.

John Jackson, of New Orleans, had been living in a shelter at a nearby church. He said his son was searching for more permanent accommodations and he wasn't sure how long he would stay in the park.

"Might be a month, might be a week," he said.