Many hotels filling up with Hurricane Katrina evacuees September 02, 2005 Share 1 -- Katrina: Facts and figures" In time for Labor Day weekend, gasoline prices swelled to more than $3.00 per gallon in some parts of the nation. According to AAA, the average cost nationwide was $2.62 a gallon on Aug. 31 -- a record -- 75.9 cents a gallon higher than the same time last year. " The official Katrina death toll stands at 139: 11 in Florida from the first landfall Aug. 25; two storm-related traffic fatalities in Alabama; and 126 confirmed dead in Mississippi, although the number is expected to rise. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin estimates the death toll in his city to be in the hundreds, if not thousands." The U.S. Navy dispatched four naval ships to the area, to join the Norfolk, Va.-based, amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, already docked in the Gulf of Mexico: the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, the amphibious transport dock USS Shreveport, both out of Norfolk; and the dock landing ship USS Tortuga and the rescue and salvage ship USS Grapple, both based out of Little Creek, Va." The American Red Cross is providing shelter for nearly 42,000 evacuees in more than 250 shelters in seven states, a spokeswoman said.WASHINGTON -- Hotels everywhere from Little Rock, Ark., to Houston were filling up with evacuees from New Orleans and other areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, according to several hotel chains that advised travelers who previously held bookings at the properties to double check to make sure their rooms were still available. Many hotels are overbooked, especially in areas with a huge influx of evacuees, including Alabama, Arkansas, east Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, the InterContinental Hotels Group. Guests with travel plans over the next several weeks are urged to call (800) 331-0573 for room availability.Hilton Hotels Corp. was busy Sept. 1 transporting as many as 1,600 guests and employee evacuees from 25 of its hotels in the New Orleans area.A spokeswoman for the chain said the evacuees would be first sent to Baton Rouge, La., where they will meet up with friends and family. If they are not picked up and continue to be displaced, then we are transporting them to Hilton Family hotels in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.Hilton said room bookings were significantly increasing in such cities San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, Memphis and other outlining areas.At least eight La Quinta hotels in and around New Orleans were impacted by the storm, according to the chain.La Quinta, which operates La Quinta and Baymont hotels, said its properties outside the New Orleans area are open and are primarily accommodating displaced residents as well as rescue and relief personnel.It advised travelers that have existing reservations or are planning to travel to a La Quinta or Baymont property in the affected states to call either (800) 531-5900 (for La Quinta) or (877) BAYMONT.To contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to email@example.com.Get More!For more details on this article, see "Marriott evacuates its remaining guests from New Orleans."