Louisiana is opening shelters across the state to provide residents refuge from the effects of Barry.

Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says you can keep track of different shelter locations by watching your local news and listening to parish state leadership, but the best way to get that info is dialing 2-1-1.

“2-1-1 has been activated to have the most up to date information about shelter locations and being able to tell people exactly where the shelter closest to them will be.”

Walters adds 2-1-1 will likely be a more up to date and reliable method of finding shelters than relying on lists published online.

The Secretary says if you are heading to a shelter, bring some personal hygiene items and your medications, and you don’t need to worry about food because you will be fed and taken care of, but…

“People can always bring their personal things like a pillow or a blanket or, if you have children, to bring a stuff animal or some toys. We don’t want you to bring huge suitcases.”

Good news for pet owners, as state shelters will have pet facilities. But not every shelter will be a state-run operation, and Walters says you should check ahead of time to make sure your local shelter is pet friendly.

“When you call 2-1-1 you need to ask about pet capacity at the local parish shelters that are being set up.”