A PROSTITUTE who stole a $1.5 million watch from the hotel suite of a Crown casino high roller has walked from court without conviction. - Friday 12th of August 2005

The evacuees came into Shreveport-Bossier City casinos weary-eyed with suitcases in hand and small children in tow.

And the eager, bushy-tailed gamblers from Texas or Arkansas had to make way.

"We were planning on staying overnight, but all the rooms were booked through Tuesday because of the hurricane," said Susan Martin, who was heading back to Dallas on Sunday night.

Lola Gatson of El Dorado, Ark., canceled her reservation at Horseshoe Casino, but changed her mind. Because there were so many evacuees, she was given a handicapped room, she said.

Hotels were booked at the casinos Sunday night, and that didnt necessarily mean money was rolling in. Several workers said they didnt notice an increase of players on the boats or diners in the restaurants -- meaning they werent getting lots of tips.

"Its slow," said Amber McHenry, a server at Smokey Joes Cafe in Sams Town Casino. "I thought we would get business because of the hurricane, but they havent come yet."

She wasnt giving up hope, though. The hotel was full and the last hurricane evacuation brought a lot of business, she said. But the situation itself could be working against her and other workers.

"They are leaving a storm," she said. "A lot of them wont tip you that well."

Tabitha Caraway, a cocktail waitress at Sams Town, said the boat didnt seem any more crowded, though she could tell who the evacuees were.

"People come up and ask questions, like How do you get a players card?" she said.

And Dustin Durrett, a valet attendant at Hollywood Casino, said he wasnt making any more tips than usual.

"As far as parking cars, its about the same, but more people are bringing more luggage in," he said.

Harlean Smith-Lemon, unpacking for a room at Hollywood Casino, said she didnt necessarily plan to stay in a casino.

"We were with four other cars," said the New Orleans resident. "This was the closest thing we could find."

By the time the family got to Shreveport, they didnt have much money for gambling. They left at 5 a.m. Sunday, then Smith-Lemons car broke down and she had to have it towed and rent a new car. With the car troubles and the hotel, she estimated the trip had already cost $700 -- not including food.

"Well be washing dishes -- if they let us," she said.

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